If you thought Bing existed only fleetingly, in the few minutes it takes a new computer owner to change their default search engine to Google, then you’re missing out on some real advertising opportunities for your business.
While it’s true that Bing was once inferior to Google, the platform is experiencing significant growth. Avenues for advertising your business on the site are only increasing, and offering vastly different opportunities than the Great Google.
This year, Microsoft celebrated a 23% year over year growth in search advertising. With 1.27 billion unique monthly global visitors, Bing attracts 23% of combined mobile search click share in the USA. On Windows 10 devices, Bing search queries increased by a whopping 30% compared to previous versions of Windows.
It’s clear that Bing is on the rise, and with that said, if you’ve not yet paid attention to Bing Ads, then it’s time to listen up. In this article, I’ll look at the differences between Bing Ads and AdWords, and show you how to run a successful Bing Ads campaign for your business.
To start with, let’s look at some reasons why you might want to advertise your business on Bing Ads instead of AdWords.
1- Bing users are different to Google users
While Google undoubtedly holds the largest market share when it comes to search engine queries, what’s special about Bing is that its users are different.
As the default search engine on all Windows devices, 87% of Bing queries come via Internet Explorer. With that in mind, Bing users either love Internet Explorer or don’t know how/don’t care to install a different browser. And let’s be honest, it’s unlikely to be the first option.
Knowing this statistic opens us up to a wealth of opportunity to advertise to a niche demographic, one that is generally less tech-savvy than Google users.
Here are some other traits common to Bing users:
They’re older than Google users (with a majority age of 35+),
They’re more likely to have children,
They tend to come from blue collar backgrounds,
⅓ are college graduates, and
⅓ have a household income of over $100K.
Taking this average Bing user in mind, it’s clear that it appeals to a certain niche that might benefit particular industries. One of these industries is Financial Services, where Bing quarterly ad impressions beat Google by 1.2 million impressions. Here’s that in pictorial form:
And that was with a CPC of $1.98 on Bing, compared with $2.88 on AdWords. While this data is from a few years back and the CPC is pretty low compared to today’s, the fact that the CPC for keywords on Bing Ads is less than AdWords still holds true today. Which brings me to my next point:
2- Bing Ads is cheaper & less competitive
Bing Ads is cheaper than AdWords for almost every vertical, giving you a lot more bang for your buck if your target audience sits amongst the average Bing user.
Here’s a comparison of the CPC for AdWords compared to Bing Ads on competing verticals:
The above data is from a 45-day trial in which three identical campaigns were created both in Bing and Google. While the number of conversions on Google were significantly higher than Bing, the cost per acquisition was 63.23% cheaper on Bing.
So while Google offers significantly larger volume, Bing appeals to a niche demographic and at a cheaper rate. To put a number on it, AdWords is about 71% more expensive than Bing Ads overall.
This makes Bing Ads an ideal choice for competitive keywords or campaigns that may be too expensive to run on AdWords. Because Bing is often looked at as an afterthought, there’s significantly less competition on the platform.
3- There are different options available
If you were distraught at Google’s removal of sidebar ads, then you’ll find your solace in Bing, where ads on the sidebar still exist. In fact, there are a number of options available on Bing Ads that aren’t available on AdWords:
Sidebar ads offer more visibility:
Sidebar ads on Bing means that your opportunity to appear on the first page is doubled. Here’s that in action – a quick search for ‘Sydney plumber’ shows eight ads on the first page for Bing compared with Google’s four:
Look at all these ads!
Here’s the same search on Google:
Just four lonely ads.
Not only does Bing still have sidebar ads, but the first three ads at the top of the page are also repeated at the bottom of the page, giving you twice the exposure.
Search term reports are different:
Bing Ads search term reports have a bonus feature that AdWords is missing – they match the search term with your keyword by default, so you don’t have to do all the hard work and manually add the keyword column.
Ad extensions include images:
Bing Ads has an alternative for most popular AdWords extensions like call, callout, review, location, and structured snippet. But on top of that, there’s also an image extension which allows you to upload six images with your ad.
Here’s the image extension in action:
Each of these images can go to a different sitelink, offering the opportunity for a higher CTR.
Now we’ve nailed the primary differences between AdWords and Bing Ads, we can move on to helping you successfully run a Bing Ads campaign for your business. The great thing is that you’ve already got a campaign set up in AdWords then you can easily import it into Bing.
Importing a campaign from AdWords:
Testing things out is always made easier if there’s little effort involved, and Bing knows this. So if you’d like to test Bing Ads for your business and already have an AdWords campaign set up, then it’s as easy as heading to this page and importing your campaign.
That said, not all information will be imported and some information will be different on Bing Ads than in AdWords. Primary differences and things to keep an eye out for include:
Firstly, the concept of ‘time of day’ differs between Bing Ads and AdWords. On AdWords, the time of day refers to your time of day, as the advertiser. On Bing Ads, however, it refers to the time of day for the user who is viewing the ad. So it’s important to have a look at your targeting options and adjust the time of day accordingly.
Secondly, we’ve already established that Bing users are different to Google users, and so you may want to reconsider the time of day targeting you’d chosen for your AdWords campaign according to the average demographic. For instance, Bing users may be less likely to access the internet late at night, or during business hours when they may be working.
Bids and Budgets:
The minimum bid and budget requirements are different on Bing than in AdWords, and so some of your bids and budgets may have been increased during import. This is a default option during setup, and one you can opt out of, but you may have missed it. The different minimums on Bing also mean that some of your campaigns that don’t meet the threshold might not have been imported
Bing Ads doesn’t use broad match negative keywords, so if you’re using them in your AdWords campaign then they will change to phrase match negative keywords when imported into Bing. You might have to add more negative keywords, so it’s a good idea to look over this after import.
Conversion tracking with Bing Ads
You might have saved a lot of time by importing your AdWords campaign into Bing, but there’s still a little bit of work to be done with conversion tracking. Since Bing is a different platform to AdWords, it has its own separate conversion tracking code that’ll have to be planted manually.
But before you freak out, it’s a lot easier to track conversions on Bing Ads thanks to Bing’s Universal Event Tracking code. In fact, you can do it in 3 easy steps:
How to optimize your Bing Ads campaigns
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. You’ve got Bing Ads up and running, and here’s how to optimise your campaigns so you can run them successfully.
Set a lower budget:
Because there’s less volume and competition on Bing compared to Google, it’s a good idea to set a lower budget on Bing Ads than you would on Google. Try starting off with just 20% of the normal budget you’d use on AdWords, and go from there.
Experiment with keywords:
Less volume and lower costs make Bing Ads an ideal platform to experiment with. If there are keywords you’re unable to target on AdWords because they’re too expensive or they don’t convert, Bing Ads gives you the opportunity to try them out for lower risk.
Experiment with broader targeting:
If you only use phrase match and exact match in AdWords, try using broad match in Bing Ads – it can really deliver results.
Review your search terms:
This is especially important if you’re targeting a broader range of keywords than you would in AdWords. To optimise your Bing Ads campaign, make sure you review your search terms and add any irrelevant searches as negative keywords.
Is Bing the king?
So we’ve established Bing as a platform that:
Is growing year-on-year,
Offers a niche target audience,
Competes with AdWords for several verticals,
Is cheaper than AdWords,
Is less competitive than AdWords,
Has potential for more visibility,
Imports AdWords campaigns, and
Can be experimented with at little risk.
While it’s still nowhere near Google when it comes to market share, Bing is a close second, and offers a prime opportunity for many businesses to experiment with their PPC advertising at lower cost and with less competition.
For some industries, it’s a hidden gem, for others it’s not a viable option. What’s worth doing, however, is giving it a go for your business and seeing what opportunities lay in store for you. Lucky they’ve made it so easy to get started.
About Writer: –
Mitch McCormick is the co-founder of Clicktribe, a Sydney based digital marketing agency. He loves digital marketing, toasted cheese sandwiches and is a meme connoisseur.