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Search Wars: Bing Ads vs. Google Ads. Is Bing Really Worth It?

by | Sep 10, 2021

There are two primary outlets for Search Engine Advertising: Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising. Before you determine which is best suited for your marketing needs and investment, it’s necessary to review the pros, the cons, and the differences between them. Google has almost 89% of the search engine marketplace, while Microsoft Search Network (Microsoft Bing, MSN, Yahoo, and AOL search engines) holds just under 10%. In this blog, we will unpack whether Microsoft Advertising is worth pursuing to meet your marketing goals.

The top two search engines, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising allow you to market to potential consumers using their ad programs. 

A Brief History of Google Ads 

Before we dive in on comparing Microsoft Advertising to Google Ads, here’s a refresher on Google and Google Ads. 

Google had expansive growth in its early days. It took only two years for Google Ads to show up after Google’s release. Marketed as Google AdWords at the time, this marketing platform gave businesses the chance to bid on keywords that they believed their potential clients would search with when looking for their service, goods, or products. The winner of these bidding wars would get to show a text-based ad at the top of the organic results. The best part for marketers was that it had a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing structure, so you only had to pay Google when a user clicked on your ad.

Google Ads has expanded since those days. Initially, marketers could only set up ads to appear as text in the Google Search Network. Now, you can use display ads on platforms like YouTube, Gmail, Discover New Feeds, and more.

What Is Microsoft Advertising?

Nine years after the launch of Google, Bing made its debut and is now the second-largest search engine. Bing is just one of three search engines built by Microsoft, which also include MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search. 

The ads made in Microsoft Advertising’s program show up in the company’s four search engines: Bing, MSN, Yahoo, and AOL. Much like Google Ads, you choose your keywords, pay using a CPC, and have access to both text and display ads. 

There are some critical differences between Bing and Google Ads that every marketer should know about before planning your next search engine marketing (SEM) strategy. 

What Does Microsoft Advertising Offer?

Google holds the lion’s share of the search engine market, which means there is a higher reach and average search rate volume for its keywords. However, that shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when deciding whether it’s worth running ads on Microsoft Advertising. 

Unique Audience

One of the significant aspects of Microsoft Advertising vs. Google Ads is the unique audience that uses Bing as a search engine. The average Bing searcher tends to be slightly older, married with kids, and higher educated. They also tend to be somewhat affluent, leading them to spend 22% more on average when shopping online versus the average Google user. You’ll typically find them using Bing when working on their PC in white-collar jobs. 

More Granular Control And Targeting Options 

Though you can reach different levels of targeting on both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising, Bing takes it one step further. Advertising on this search engine provides marketers with a variety of targeting options based on the device the searcher is using and the time zone they are in. Additionally, Microsoft Advertising is more relaxed than Google on the restricted content you can advertise, such as alcohol and gambling.

Less Competition Means Cheaper CPC

Microsoft Advertising consists of fewer users and businesses, resulting in less competition. Since both use bidding to determine the cost per click rate charged, less competition means fewer bids to drive up yours. On average, Microsoft Advertising ads cost 35% less than Google ads.

Additionally, Microsoft Advertising still allows ads on the right-hand side of the page of the results, which gives more room for ads that might have lower bids.

Higher Average Click-Through-Rate 

Sure, your ad needs to be seen, but if they’re not being clicked on, what is the point? When comparing the click-through rate (CTR) industry benchmarks of ads on Google vs. Bing, the average CTR is almost 50% higher on Bing when it comes to every industry.

Why Does Microsoft Advertising Get Such A Bad Reputation?

To put it plainly, Google is commonly used for searchers and businesses, so it’s easy to assume that Microsoft Advertising is not effective. 

Microsoft Bing also has a reputation for being more selective than Google about the results that show in its search engine. Bing attempts to ensure that the results are of genuine quality and what their searchers want to use. While this is seen as an attribute now, this limitation hurt them in their early days. That stigma is something they have yet to recover from fully. 

Why Not Both? There’s Room for Both Microsoft and Google in Your PPC Marketing Strategy

At the end of the day, the only way to know whether ads on Microsoft Bing will work for your company is to test them out. Start by carving out some of your budgets to use on Microsoft Ads and creating identical campaigns in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. Make sure these campaigns are set up with identical assets, time frames, and conversion goals. Once finished, you will have all the data needed to analyze results and determine if Microsoft Ads delivers the results most valuable to your business. That’s what we do for our clients. 

Microsoft Advertising vs. Google Ads, No Clear Winner

We think both Bing Ads and Google Ads deserve to be considered for your PPC marketing strategy. If you need help coming up with a plan or implementing a strategy you already have, please contact us. We know just the paid media experts to help you out.

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