Download the Bing Ads Presentation
Find everything you need to know about Bing and where it one-ups Google.
Bing Ads is sometimes disregarded as irrelevant and if you’ve been doing PPC marketing for any amount of time, you’ve most likely heard about how much better Google AdWords is than Bing Ads…
To start, it used to be called something else.
You know that teenage niece you have that’s going through an identity crisis while she’s finding herself and wanting to be called something else every other week? First, it was Kimberly, then Kimmie, then just Kim, and then finally settling on Princess. Well, that’s kind of like Bing Ads.
Originating from Microsoft’s previous engines (MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search), Bing Ads was officially launched by Steve Ballmer in 2009. Yup, this same Steve Ballmer:
Now that we have a better understanding of what Bing is for, let’s take a look at WHO Bing is for?
Outside of North America, more specifically the U.S., Bing’s presence is rather limited. In fact, 85% of all Bing users are located in the red, white, & blue. Of those, 87% come from users of Internet Explorer (now Microsoft Edge), which just so happens to be the default search engine for any Windows device, which happens to be owned and operated by Microsoft, which also so happens to be the same owner of Bing. Coincidence? Probably not.
Here are some more traits common to Bing users:
For obvious reasons, understanding the user persona of Bing is very useful when deciding whether or not to pursue Bing Ads as a potential channel to advertise in. For example, Bing might be a good idea if you’re trying to sell to wealthy grannies that might be a little new to technology.
We all know the BBB, right? No, not the Better Business Bureau, but the Big Benefits of Bing. Well, if not, here’s a little synopsis that will help with that:
Although Google and Bing are similar in the fact that they are both search engines, they’re also different in many respects. It is commonly thought that Bing is in a constant game of follow-the-leader and simply follows suit with every update that Google makes to their platform. And in some respects, this is true (à la expanded text ads). However, these two competitors still do form their own identities through differences, some subtle and some larger.
Video search is the wave of the future. Google knows it and has been preaching about YouTube for several years now. Bing also knows it and, although they don’t have a YouTube as an advertising channel, they do have a video search interface that many visitors actually say they prefer over Google’s.
Instead of serving a vertical list of videos with small thumbnails, it gives a grid of larger thumbnails that you can actually play without ever leaving the Bing interface. Also, for many of the videos, if you hover over them, they will even play a preview of the video. For those more mature audiences, they say that Bing (aka “the porn search engine”) is also a lot more lenient when it comes to filtering out mature content–but honey, if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Although Bing has experimented a bit with providing advertisers the option to create sponsored video ads, it never quite caught on and Bing is still clearly behind in the video advertising arena. However, it’s useful to know that Bing is providing a quality product to their users and it’s these little things which may be able to push the user demographics in one way or the other.
For those who need a little assistance in finding exactly what they’re looking for, they may be pleasantly surprised to learn that Bing is there for them. Whereas Google only provides 4 suggestions in autocomplete, Bing provides 8.
With features such as reverse image search and voice search, Google still beats out Bing in some respects. Also, for loyal Googlers, the ease and convenience of all the integrations with other Google services (Gmail, calendar, etc.) may be too big of a draw to keep them from transitioning over to the Bing side; however, Bing does provide some enticing features themselves that, if more people knew about them, would potentially draw a wider audience.
To start with, Bing rewards is pretty darn cool. Bing literally provides rewards to you simply for doing what you do everyday – search!
Perhaps the largest and most important difference between the two is search quality. “Google it” is a phrase that we’ve all heard and said before. To ‘Google’ has become a verb and is almost synonymous with performing an Internet search. “Bing it” may not be quite as common, but they are telling Google to “Bing It On”.
Bing ran a study called “Bing It On” in which they blind tested the competing search engines side by side to see which results the visitor would prefer. According to Bing’s original findings, they won that test in a 2:1 landslide. These results, however, have been disputed. Bing furthered the test and used Google’s top search queries to compare side by side with Bing’s results and, although by not by as convincing of a margin, Bing once again won.
Since we’re a PPC agency after all, we’ll focus most heavily on this final difference, which is paid search. To analyze the paid search, we’ll break it down to 3 key areas: pricing/competition, quality score, & verticals.
Supply and demand – It’s the first (or second) thing taught in any econ 101 course. As discussed earlier in this post, Google has a considerable strong hold on the market share between these two search engines and, therefore, the ad real estate is much more competitive. More competitive ad real estate means higher prices. Understanding the difference in pricing and competition is important when setting up an ad budget.
Even though most of us fall under the “I’m willing to spend a million dollars if it makes me money” category, we still need a starting budget to test the waters. According to a study run by AdGooroo, Google’s average cost per click was 71% higher than Bing’s.
One of the most critical factors in determining your CPC is quality score. Both Bing Ads and Google AdWords have their own definitions of quality score. We’ve all been trained to understand that high quality score equals cheaper clicks and we’re all constantly working on finding ways to get that QS to a 10. Although this sometimes mysterious score can be difficult to understand, we can clearly understand that there’s a difference in this score between the two platforms.
Let’s start with what this score is comprised of, according to both channels:
These 3 components build the quality score for both Bing and Google; however, the way that they impact your PPC accounts is different. Quality score is thought to be one of the two primary factors impacting your ad rank (the other being bid amount) and although it does in AdWords, this is not the case with Bing, at least not directly.
Bing provides you with the quality score more so in order to guide you on how to improve your account’s quality, so that they’ll be more prominent in search results.
When deciding whether to try out Bing or not, a good place to start thinking is whether or not your industry has a presence in Bing. Since Bing does seem to appeal to certain demographics more than others, it also makes sense that they would have a larger presence in certain industries.
The below chart displays several verticals in which Bing’s quarterly ad impressions are either competitive or beating Google’s ad impressions (in millions).
To Bing’s credit, they’re very aware of that giant in front of them that is casting the shadow, and they’re climbing that hill to get out of the shade. In the meantime, Bing knows where they stand and they’re making the most of it. Bing understands that for the vast majority of PPC advertisers, Google AdWords is their first option and for this reason, they provided us with the handy dandy import from Google AdWords function.
Importing campaigns is a great and efficient way to get your Bing Ads account up and running. However, getting conversions tracked isn’t quite as convenient. Since Bing is its own separate platform, it has its own separate conversion tracking code that will need to be planted, and just importing your AdWords campaigns won’t take care of this step for you.
Bing’s conversion code works a bit different than AdWords’. Whereas in AdWords you create a separate conversion pixel for each conversion goal that you want to track, Bing has one Universal Event Tracking code. In essence, it’s one tag to rule all your tags, a bit like how Google Tag Manager works for Google.
So, before you let a little thing like conversion tracking scare you aware from Bing, take a look at just how easy it is through these 3 easy steps Bing provides for us:
So, you have your campaigns imported from AdWords and you set up conversion tracking with the Bing UET code. Now, let’s sit back, relax, and watch the moolah come in. Noooot quite. As mentioned several times, Bing and Google are two completely different entities and, as such, they need to be treated as different entities.
You might be thinking “I love my Google account so much and there’s no way I could love another account the same”. However, once the campaigns are imported, your new Bing account will need the same loving care and affection that you provided to your Google account which helped it to grow into the beautiful account it is today.
At the end of the day, regardless of CPCs, CTRs, or any other PPC acronym you can throw out there, the one metric that should dictate where you place your advertising budget is the Cha-Chings. Our clients and adoring fans have heard us preach this since day one and we truly believe it. The PPC world can get pretty cluttered and confusing at times, but it’s really pretty simple when you break it down to one question and answer.
What’s making me more money?
Let’s do that & let’s do it right!
Will Bing Ads be the missing piece to your marketing puzzle that you’ve been searching so long and hard for? Maybe or maybe not, but one thing’s for sure, we can test it.
At this point, it is clear that Bing is on the map and they’re here to stay. As more and more marketers expand to Bing, it’s safe to bet that. Just like everything else in the digital marketing world, there will be changes and updates. Who knows, maybe one day Google will even provide an option to “import from Bing Ads”.
Now, the challenge is on for you to Bing it on. How will you use Bing Ads to expand your audience reach? Perhaps you’ve already tried Bing Ads? If so, have you had success and in which verticals do you find it to work best?
We’d love to hear your feedback–so if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at joelneustaedter@hotm…. I mean, please leave your comments below. 🙂
When it comes to PPC, the first person I turn to is Johnathan Dane. He and his team cut through the bullshit and get straight to the point with the goal of making you more money. Work with him."