Okay so I may have exaggerated a bit.. but believe it or not Bing is starting to make a comeback. Even though Google holds roughly 64% of the market share, Bing is still becoming a huge digital advertising platform that we can’t ignore. It may not be established in the English language like Google, but its still made itself a strong contender in the search engine industry with a 21% market share.
Now I know Bing has been easy to write off in the past. Let’s be real, we’ve really only given Bing credit for the unforgettable “Decode” ad campaign with Jay-Z. Even my digital marketing professor, Mark Staton, jokes that it stands for “Because it’s not Google.”
I know, that one got me too.
But in reality, Bing has experienced 43% growth in advertising sales over the last year even though Microsoft has considered it a low priority. And surely with an expected $5.3 billion in revenue this next year, there must be something noteworthy about the lackluster search tool.
After diving into the basics of SEM in my last blog, the next step is choosing your advertising platform. Now that we know Bing is still a promising option, let’s take a look at the key differences between Google and Bing.
Budget – Google and Bing have many similarities in terms of budgets. Both platforms have a pay-per-click formula that allows you to control how much you’re willing to pay. Even though each site has budgets to control how much you spend, Bing has more flexibility. It allows daily or monthly budgets, compared to Google that only offers a daily feature.
Of course another pro for Bing is the drastic difference in price between the two sites. According to Search Engine Watch, the average cost for a conversion on Bing is 63% less than Google. This is particularly attractive for people that are just dipping their toes into SEM.
Ad Scheduling – Thanks to Cypress North, I recently learned is that Google AdWords only time zone is only specified by the advertiser. This means that if you set your ads to 9-5pm pacific time, someone on the East coast will only see those ads from 12-9pm.
On the other hand, Bing automatically does the thinking for you. Bing describes that “Targeting times are based on the location of the person searching for or viewing your ad.” Luckily they give you the chance to not have to think about where your target market might be.
Images – Finally, a win for AdWords. Google allows you to include a variety of sizes and formats for image based ads. Unfortunately, Bing ADS don’t offer one image based ad. If you want to include an image in Bing Ads, you have to build an extension to a traditional text ad.
Mobile – If there is one thing I’ve learned about the future of marketing, it’s all about mobile. One thing that Google has done especially well is the transition to mobile advertising. AdWords gives you the option of specifying final URLs that are different for mobiles vs. desktop traffic. Why is this handy? Well it allows you to properly allocate your budget between mobile and desktop.
Bing Ads hasn’t quite hopped on the mobile bandwagon. Some accounts have the feature but they’re slowly integrating it into the platform. Get it together Bing….
Keywords – A big portion of digital advertising campaigns are negative keywords. These keywords allow you to focus only on keywords that matter to your customer by excluding particular search terms.
Even though both Bing and Google allow you to build negative keywords into your ad settings, Bing allows keywords to trump negatives. In other words, if a negative keyword is included in one of your target keywords, related queries will still pop up. Google AdWords will block searches for negative keywords even if it means blocking a search for one of your keywords.
Geographic Targeting – Google definitely takes the cake for this one. We all know that location is one of the most effective ways to target with digital advertising. (Apparently Bing doesn’t). Google AdWords allows you to show your ads on your Display Network to the geographic areas that you wish to target. Bing only allows you to show your ads on the Content Network if you’re targeting the entire US population.
This means that with Bing, you have to pick and choose your battles. You can either target by groups or by campaign. Group targeting directly overrides campaign targeting on Bing.
Who Actually Uses Bing?
You would be surprised… quite a few businesses actually use Bing.
Let’s take a look at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Although we can assume that this Southern hotspot practically advertises itself, there is actually a team working to bring in more traffic. Scott Schult, Executive Vice President of Marketing at the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (Wow that’s a mouthful) has praised Bing for its cost efficient options.
“We might not get as much of the volume as with Google AdWords, but the volume of the traffic that we get converts really well at a lower cost.” – Scott Schult
With only 10% of the marketing budget being allocated towards digital, Myrtle Beach didn’t have a lot of wiggle room to bring in tourists. Scott and his team were able to get the most out of their dollar with Bing Ads. In fact, they noticed that visitors on Bing ads were much more likely to convert than those from Google AdWords.
Take a look at Myrtle Beach’s CPC and conversion rates.
If you noticed, the conversion rates with Bing Ads is a whopping 13% higher than Google AdWords.
This isn’t to say that Bing Ads are better than Google AdWords. It truly depends on your buyer persona. Try out both and see which platform works better for your business. Bing may have been better for Myrtle Beach, but maybe Google would be better for Venice Beach.
Overall, we’ve learned that there are many reasons why advertising with Bing would be more enticing compared to Google. Another thing to consider is that competition for ad space on Bing is substantially less than Google which can give your ads a chance to shine.
Although Bing is significantly cheaper than Google, there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out before it surpasses Google as the leading search engine. While I commend Bing for its strong efforts, it may not become a verb anytime soon.
If you need a quick guide to get started. Aborg offers a breakdown of what types of customers are on Bing and Google. Thinking about who your customer is will help you determine which platform to get started on.
Throughout the next week, I will be working towards my Google AdWords certification. Stay tuned for tips on how to master Google Ads to get your brand out there.
Your marketing guru,