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is it worth using Microsoft's Bing Ads?

Is It Worth Using Microsoft’s Bing Ads?

The ‘other’ search engine, Bing offers an alternative for those who are either Google-phobic or who want to support the underdog. If you can call Microsoft an underdog…

In fact, Bing Ads is now known as Microsoft Advertising. A nice catchy name. But for the sake of this article, we’ll be referring to Bing Ads as that’s how most people know it currently.

So, is Bing Ads worth using for your pay per click marketing? And, if you do decide to use Bing Ads, what benefits might you find?

We’ve previously looked at Bing Ads vs Google Ads, but in this post we want to look more in depth at the Microsoft Advertising platform itself. 

Some maintain that all you need is Google’s huge PPC platform – which might be right for some. But, there are many other things to bear in mind to help you understand if Bing Ads is right for you.

What is Bing Ads?

As mentioned, Bing Ads is now known as Microsoft Advertising, and offers much the same package deal as Google’s Ads package. There are plenty of pros and cons of Bing Ads, which we will be weighing up for you shortly.

Of course, the primary offer is pay per click search engine results. Beyond Bing, Microsoft also own:

  • Yahoo!
  • AOL
  • MSN
AOL logoyahoo logoMSN logo

As search engines powered by Microsoft, your PPC ads can appear in results on any of these platforms.

Microsoft also owns Linkedin, although Linkedin ads are their own thing. However, Bing Ads can target users based on their Linkedin profile information, which offers some interesting possibilities.

Bing Ads can also appear in the Outlook email dashboard, Xbox store, Windows app store, from Cortana voice assistant results and on partner sites that use Yahoo, MSN or Bing search results. 

Another interesting fact is that more digital voice search assistants use Microsoft’s search technology than Google’s.

Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana (obviously) deliver results from Bing.

Only Google’s assistant supplies search results from Google!

Bing Ads reach

One key argument when looking at Bing Ads vs Google Ads is the potential reach. There is no argument that Google wins this hands down, but it’s worth adding in a few extra caveats here.

  • Microsoft’s Bing Ads offer the second biggest PPC ads reach, with around one third of the market share globally.
  • In fact Bing covers over 36% of the US search market, and around 20% in the UK.
  • Bing sees 5.4 billion searches each month across it’s platforms.

And that’s not all. Microsoft also claims that Bing Ads reach 45 million US searchers that are not reached via Google. 

Bing Ads also partner with Verizon to offer native ads on platforms across 30 countries. This means video ads, display ads and content advertising on some of the world’s most visited websites. This is Microsoft’s version of the AdSense display network.

Some of the pros of using Bing Ads actually come from their second place marketshare.

Average cost of Bing Ads vs Google Ads

Pay per click advertising is a great platform to get your brand out there, but it can quickly become expensive. This is especially the case with Google Ads, where the CPC can vary greatly across the course of a day.

Looking at the pros and cons of Bing Ads, the lower market share is greatly compensated by the more affordable cost per click. 

Most sources online agree that Bing’s average CPC is considerably lower than Google.

For example, ReportGarden found that the average CPC on Google is around $20.08, whereas on Bing it was $7.99. A pretty solid difference.

Bing ads average CPC vs Google Ads average CPC

Online advertising experts Wordstream found that the CPC on Bing was around 33% less than on Adwords.

Data from digital marketing agency Spinutech also shows that Bing offers a significant saving for search engine marketers. 

They found that on average, across search engine campaigns, campaigns on Bing spend between 20%-35% of the total spend on Google.

In fact, they found that the cost per click was lower and the click through rate was better too…

As they point out, you’re unlikely to spend the same amount on Bing Ads as you would on Google. A lot of this is down to the volume of clicks on your PPC ads.

PlatformCampaign Spend
Google Ads$2000
Microsoft/Bing$400-700
*average budget spend on PPC ad campaigns from Spinutech.com

So, while you might not be getting the huge reach that you might find with Google, you are finding both a lower cost per click coupled with a higher conversion rate. Perhaps the pros of Bing do outweigh the cons?

Some more pros and cons of using Bing

Beyond the actual cost factors of using Bing for your PPC, there are a few other things that make Bing a useful addition to your marketing arsenal.

Competition

We can’t talk about the pros and cons of using Bing Ads without mentioning the competition. One of the problems most will find with Google Ads is it’s popularity.

You will be competing hard with probably every other business in your niche. This competition also means higher cost per click and surging prices at popular times as businesses try to outbid each other.

As a platform that is often ignored by search engine marketers, Bing still offers lots of potential for those willing to give it a try. 

We’ve already seen that the actual reach is smaller, but with less people competing for your ad space, you’re more likely to get a better deal.

The downside of this is, of course, that you might not be hitting the volume of ads that your competitors might on Bing alone. Most expert marketers recommend using Bing as an addition to Google Ads, rather than an outright replacement.

Audience quality

Another finding is that the quality of the audience on Bing is thought to be more ‘discerning’, hence the better click through rate. Google is the world’s search engine, meaning that almost everyone uses it.

But Bing’s data shows that over one third of their users take home over $100,000 per year. The vast majority of Bing’s users make over $40,000, which is also reflected in their age demographic, with 56% of Bing’s users being between 25-55.

Of course, businesses targeting a younger or more general demographic might not find this to be a selling point. 

Flexible partner targeting

Google’s Display Network offers a huge range of partner websites where you can feature your banner ads or content. As such, content marketers find lots of opportunity to display their ads. 

The downside though is that it isn’t always easy to see which sites your ads are appearing on. As we’ve seen, this can leave your ads open to ad fraud from spoofed sites and fraudulent networks.

Bing actually makes it easier to see the sites where your ads are appearing, and to customise them. 

You can even see the performance of specific sites, so if they’re looking a little iffy you can put them in your websites exclusions list.

Google Ads importing

Another useful feature is the ability to import any Google Ads campaigns directly from Google into your Bing Ads dashboard. 

Want to see if you can net any extra leads from a successful campaign? Or maybe want to run campaigns in tandem to see what works best?

It’s a pretty simple process and one of the pros of using Bing over Google Ads.

Extra controls

Although there are a lot of customisation options in Google Ads, there are a few areas where it falls down. Using Bing Ads allows you to do some clever things such as:

  • Assign campaigns to different time zones
  • Use automated rules to change campaign settings much easier than with Google
  • More advanced mobile ads targeting based on OS and device type

It might also be worth noting that sign up for Microsoft Ads is pretty straightforward, and the level of control you have over your ads makes it a good starting point for those learning PPC marketing.

So, should I be using Microsoft Ads?

There are lots of options for pay per click now, including social media platforms such as Facebook, content marketing such as Taboola/Outbrain and, of course, Google Adwords.

It will most likely depend on your marketing strategy, but if you’re looking to diversify your PPC campaigns then Bing Ads (aka Microsoft Ads) will be a useful tool.

For most marketers, you probably won’t be using Bing Ads as your sole PPC platform. Google Ads has such a broad reach that it’s inevitable that most marketers will use it at some stage.

But, considering the lower cost per click and competition, Microsoft’s offering could be a useful addition. Bing Ads might also be a good option for those starting out on their PPC marketing journey.

The high earning demographic and the chance to target users based on their Linkedin profiles might also appeal to some. Business services or those working on accounts based marketing campaigns could make be tempted to see how effective Microsoft Ads can be.

One thing to remember is that click fraud is still a persistent threat, whichever PPC platform you use. Microsoft do have a program to tackle those pesky invalid clicks on Bing Ads.

Our data shows that the average Bing Ads campaign still receives around 20% invalid clicks. Even if you’re spending less on Bing Ads vs Google Ads, you still want to make sure your marketing spend is going where you want it to.

If you’re running Microsoft Ads, sign up for a free trial of ClickCease today.

Oli

Since working for ClickCease, Oli has become something of a click fraud nerd, and now bores people at parties with facts about click farms and internet traffic stats. When not writing about ad fraud, he helps companies to optimise their marketing content and strategy with his own content marketing business.

2 comments

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    • Hey Alex, looks like half your message got cut off. But… We’re definitely not getting paid by Bing/Microsoft. It seems that a lot of marketers do get a lot out of Bing as a PPC platform. Whats your experience been?

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