bing code

October 12, 2018

Bing Ads vs. Google Ads

Author: Kristen Bachmeier

Bing is often the forgotten search engine in the digital marketing landscape. Even during my attendance at the Digital Summit in August, Bing was mentioned only 2-3 times throughout 2 full days of workshops and presentations.

Our marketing efforts (for ourselves and our clients) typically focus on ranking well within Google. It’s been reported that there are 1.17 billion people in the world using Google for searches, so it would make sense that any company’s marketing efforts would be focused on Google. But are we underestimating Bing?

(We’ll be doing a future blog post about who uses Bing, so stay tuned for that!)

Google Ads is often first on the list of recommendations for clients that want to grow their business. Bing Ads often falls to second place (sometimes even third after Facebook Advertising). It got me to thinking, though, that we may be underestimating Bing Ads and that I should really take a deep dive into the features of both Bing Ads and Google Ads to make the best recommendations for our clients. Here, I’ll dive into the key features of Google Ads and Bing Ads and conclude by providing a real-world client example of each network’s success.

Both Platforms Have Similar Features

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) has really paved the way for online advertising platforms and as you explore both interfaces, you will notice that they may look different, but they offer very similar services.

Both Google and Bing offer advertising through pay-per-click (search/text-based ads), display advertising using their vast networks, shopping campaigns, retargeting, and ad extensions.

  • Pay-per-click – allows advertisers to pay only when someone clicks the ad and off to the site
  • Display advertising – allows advertisers to create display ads and display them through their respective networks (Google’s Display Network is larger)
  • Shopping – as users gravitate more towards search engines to search for products, easy-to-view listings can appear with shopping campaigns
  • Retargeting – this allows advertisers to tag a user that comes to the website and follow them with ads throughout their network
  • Ad extensions – ad extensions allow advertisers to display more information than what is allowed in the ad. For example, advertisers can add their location/address information, phone number, and reviews through extensions.

Bing offers a lot of what Google offers, but from an agency perspective, I think Google executes their products a lot more seamlessly.

Google Offers More Ad Products

Google offers an array of advertising solutions for small, medium, and large businesses that I haven’t yet seen on Bing’s platform. These products include video ads (through YouTube), app ads, and even Waze local ads. This means you’re able to reach more people as we move into a more mobile-based, multi-screening culture.

Google’s Ad Interface and Support are more Advanced

It’s my opinion that Bing’s advertising products are a bit rudimentary compared to Google. This includes the interface that we work in as advertisers, as well as the educational resources provided. Google does an amazing job of offering resources to agencies. I haven’t seen this support or resources with Bing, and I think their website could use some tweaking to better help advertisers and small businesses understand the products they offer.

Bing Ads Typically Cost Less than Google Ads*

*This depends on the industry and isn’t always the case, but we have seen that it offers a lower cost-per-click within search campaigns for most of our clients.

Whenever we recommend advertising on Bing, we are often greeted with the question “Why?” It’s certainly a reasonable question to ask and one of my first responses is to explain that it costs less.

Fewer people use Bing to search online, which means there are fewer advertisers in that space, which then drives down the competition. With less competition and fewer searches, it will be reflected in the cost-per-click. Our general rule is to say that if we’re advertising on Google, let’s half the budget and put it into Bing. We see clients spending 50% less in Bing than in Google, but they still receive the same amount of conversions (or leads) through their website. Again, this applies to certain industries and isn’t a blanket statement for any company considering Bing.

The Final Showdown: A Real-World Comparison of Bing Ads vs. Google Ads

We recommend advertising that will help our clients grow their businesses online. Period. Before we recommend an advertising tool, we’ve often tested on ourselves first. (You have been warned: LinkedIn InMail is not worth it.) To really compare Bing Ads and Google Ads, I reviewed samples data for one of our long-time clients in the recreation industry. All data mentioned below spans the course of 2 months this year. It’s also worth noting that the campaigns in each are the same.

In any paid advertising campaign, there are a few key metrics we assess each month/quarter/year. I’ve broken down the winner in each data set to paint a bigger picture of Bing Ads vs. Google Ads.

Cost-Per-Click: Neither Win

The cost-per-click was 1 penny off between Google and Bing. Google Ads garnered a $1.71 average cost-per-click while Bing Ads garnered $1.72.

Impressions: Google Wins

Google’s campaigns were able to garner a much higher number of impressions than Bing Ads: 88,049 more impressions to be exact.

Click-Through-Rate: Google Wins

Our Google campaigns were able to get a higher click-through-rate, with at least a 1.5% difference. This is substantial given that the number of impressions is much higher as well.

Conversions/Leads: Google Wins

This is obviously the most important number to review when analyzing the success of a paid ad campaign. Google’s campaigns were able to garner nearly 100 more leads over the course of 2 months and the cost-per-lead on Google was nearly $400 LESS than on Bing.

So, there you have it: when it comes to the online paid ad space in this scenario, Google wins.

Should I Advertise on Bing for my Business?

Even with all this data, it’s important to note that there is no clear-cut answer to this. The better questions to answer first are:

  • What is my budget?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What products/services do I want to promote?

How you answer these questions will determine how you/your digital agency decide to disperse your digital ad budget. I wouldn’t completely write off Bing, as it does have its advantages. For example, many larger corporate settings require their employees to use Microsoft Edge and the default search engine for that browser is Bing. This kind of information might become useful to a company that wants to advertise to c-level executives or a decision-maker that works in a large company.

To summarize, there is no “one-size-fits-all” digital marketing approach and it’s important that you consult with your digital agency to learn what’s best for your business and goals. To learn more about Atilus and our digital marketing services, click here or contact us today.

Kristen Bachmeier

Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

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