Google Ads or Bing Ads? For most advertisers, it’s a no-brainer - Google gets a lot more traffic, so it makes sense to reach out to consumers on Google as opposed to Bing.
What many advertisers don’t realize is that while Google is undoubtedly the frontrunner in the search engine market, Bing is catching up quickly. Yes, Google might process an average of over 40,000 search queries every second, but Bing’s share of the search market has been growing consistently (six years in a row!), and they now reach nearly half of the population in America. Here’s where it gets interesting: out of the 142 million+ unique searchers that Bing brings to the table, 66 million of those searchers exclusively use Bing, and you won’t find them on Google.
The bottom line? Bing is fast becoming a force to reckon with, and you’d be leaving money on the table if you refuse to even consider this platform. In this guide, we walk you through the differences between Bing ads and Google ads, and evaluate the pros and cons of each option.
Differences between Bing ads and Google ads
In this section, we explore how do Bing ads and Google ads measure up in different areas, including ad networks, search volumes, audience demographics, advertising costs and budgets, and targeting. Read on to find out more!
First up, Google comprises of two ad networks: the search network, and the display network. With the former, Google serves up text ads on its search engine results pages (SERPs). With the latter, they serve display ads on the millions of websites that are registered on the Google Display Network (GDN).
Bing, on the other hand, comprises of three ad networks (Bing, Yahoo, and AOL), and when you run Bing ads, your ads are shown across all three networks. This means you can set up a single campaign or ad, and have this be seen by searchers across all Bing, Yahoo, and AOL owned and operated sites (plus partner sites).
While Google has dominated the search engine market, Bing is an up-and-coming platform that’s increasingly reaching out to more consumers.
As of now, Bing reaches almost 50% of users in the US, and they also have 34% of the desktop search engine market share worldwide. All in all, the Bing network processes 5.4 billion searches every month, and 142 million unique searchers use the Bing Network. Bing Ads also reach 63 million searchers that aren’t reached with Google AdWords.
That said, Google holds the vast majority of the search engine market share, and when it comes to sheer volume, Bing still can’t hold a candle to Google. Bearing this in mind, advertising on Google will almost always results in more clicks and conversion volume than advertising on Bing.
Generally speaking, Bing users tend to be older and more educated. More specifically, almost 40% of the Bing Network ranges from 35 to 54 years old, and nearly three-quarters of Bing users are over the age of 35:
That’s not all - Bing users also enjoy high purchasing power. Approximately one-third of the Bing Network has a household income of over $100,000, and almost half of the Network has a household income of $75,000 or more. The Bing Network audience also spends 32% more when shopping from their desktop computers, as compared to average internet searchers.
Last but not least, men and women are equally represented on Bing (we’re talking about an even 50-50 split), and over a third of Bing’s audience graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree. On top of that, 17% of Bing’s audience have some sort of postgraduate degree.
What about Google users? Because Google is used by such a diverse crowd, there aren’t any published stats that talk about the demographics of these users. That said, we do know that Google users tend to skew younger as compared to Bing users. Bearing this in mind, we’d extrapolate that the average Google user has a lower income and lives in a smaller household as compared to the average Bing user.
Across the board, advertisers find that they get lower Costs Per Clicks (CPC) and Costs Per Conversions (CPA) with Bing Ads. For instance, the folks over at Spinutech say that their Bing campaigns only cost 20% to 35% of their Google campaigns. At the same time, these Bing campaigns were bringing them higher conversion rates (10.39% as opposed to Google Ads’ 8.65%), so I’d consider this a win on both counts.
Spinutech aside, both Wordstream and AdGooroo also experienced positive results with Bing ads. More specifically, Wordstream compared the CPC for their various on both platforms and found that Bing Ads clicks were 33.5% cheaper than google Ads clicks. (They also mentioned that these ads were often in better positions than their Google counterparts, and had higher click through rates, so again: this isn’t a case where you’re sacrificing quality in order to get cheaper clicks). Then there’s AdGooroo, who conducted a study that showed that Bing Ads CPCs were 42% lower than AdWords CPCs.
If you’re wondering why Bing is so much more cost-effective than Google Ads, the answer is simple. Both platforms are priced using an advertiser auction model, and since there are less advertisers on Bing, this means that the advertisers who are on the platform are subject to less competition; this translates to cheaper clicks.
Here’s the implication: as more advertisers join Bing Ads, the average CPC on Bing will increase. It’s a simple matter of supply vs demand: if demand is strong enough, the average Bing CPC might rise to the point where it starts to rival that of Google Ads. In fact, AdStage recently published data from almost 40 million ad impressions and a million clicks on Bing Ads, and this data shows that the average Bing CPM (cost per thousand impressions) increased by 22% compared to last year.
Thankfully, though, this increase in CPM was cushioned by a relatively stable CPC. The average Bing Ads CPC did spike in Q3 of 2017, but it dropped back down to $3.36 in Q1 of 2018. Although it’s getting more expensive to run ads on Bing’s network, the fact that these ads are reaching high-quality traffic (ie searchers who click on the ads!) makes up for it.
All in all, advertisers who are keen to experiment with Bing Ads shouldn’t let the above increase in CPM stand in their way. At the end of the day, Bing Ads are still a lot more cost-effective than Google Ads. Also: it’s unlikely that hundreds of thousands of advertisers will jump on the Bing bandwagon at the same time, so any further increases in CPC is likely to happen gradually; the average CPC won’t skyrocket overnight.
When it comes to advertising budgets, Bing Ads offers advertisers more flexibility. If you’re running a Bing campaign, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to utilize a daily or monthly budget. Once you specify your budget, Bing will show your ads accordingly; for those using a monthly budget, Bing will automatically pause your ads when your budget is fully spent.
What if you’re working with a monthly budget, but you want to have control over how much is spent every day as well? If that’s the case, use Bing's daily budgeting feature that's available when you choose the "monthly budget" option.
Say you’re working out your ad spend for January 2019, and you want to ensure that your ads are shown consistently throughout the month. You’d calculate your daily budget as follows:
Assuming total budget = $10,000.
Number of days in Jan 2019 = 31.
Budget per day = $10000/31 = ~$322.
Go ahead and specify your daily budget to be $322; this will allow your ads to be shown to Bing consumers every single day of the month.
For advertisers on Google Ads, budgets are a lot simpler; you don’t have many options to play around with. When you set up a campaign, you’ll be prompted to key in your daily budget. Google then multiples your daily budget by 30.4 (the average number of days in a month) in order to arrive at your monthly budget. In order to optimize your campaign, Google might spend as much as twice your daily budget on a single day; that said, they’ll make up for this in the following days such that you remain within budget at the end of the month.
Good to note: both Bing Ads and Google Ads offer advertisers the option of standard or accelerated delivery. If you want your ad platform to show your ads consistently and throughout the entire day, choose standard delivery; if you want it to serve your ads as and when these are eligible without any pacing or moderation, use accelerated delivery.
Matching search queries to search intent
The common consensus amongst advertisers who use both Google and Bing is that Google tends to be better at matching search queries to search intent. Why this is so is still up for debate - some say that Google is more restrictive with their Broad Match keywords, and this translates into more accurate matching, and others argue that Bing doesn’t take the content on your landing page into account when serving ads to consumers, and that’s what’s causing the problem.
That said, there are ways for Bing advertisers to get around this. For instance, Bing advertisers can look at their Search Query report and identify keywords that are driving irrelevant traffic, then add these keywords to their list of negative keywords. We’ll explore this in greater detail later on in this guide.
Targeting: Campaigns vs ad groups
Targeting-wise, Bing beats Google, hands down. First and foremost, Google only allows advertisers to set their network, location, language, ad scheduling, and ad rotation settings at the campaign level, with the settings for each individual ad group being derived from these campaign-level settings. Bing, on the other hand, allows advertisers to get more granular with their targeting by adjusting their settings on an ad group level.
How does this affect the way you manage and run your ads? Here’s an example: if you’re A/B testing your ad groups on Bing Ads, and you want to adjust a setting for one of your ad groups, you can go ahead and do that with minimal fuss. If you’re on Google Ads, however, you’ll have to create a brand new campaign, and change your settings at a campaign level instead.
Targeting: Time Zones
On top of that, Bing also allows advertisers to assign different ad campaigns to different time zones; this is particularly helpful for those who serve clients or customers in different parts of the world. As of now, Google Ads does not offer any similar feature.
Bing ads retargeting
When I speak to clients about Bing Ads, one question that invariably comes up is: does Bing offer retargeting ads? Yes, they do - these come in the form of Remarketing in Paid Search ads, and Bing says that its advertisers who use these ads see 36% higher conversion rates and 22% lower CPAs on average.
To run Search retargeting ads on Bing, you’ll have to do these four things:
Place a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag on your website.
Create Bing remarketing lists based on user activity or pages your users have visited.
Associate your remarketing lists to one or several ad groups.
Adjust bids, ad copy, extensions, and landing pages accordingly.
These steps sound like Greek to you? Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through each step individually. First up… UET tags.
UET tags are tags that Bing uses to track conversions and record what people do on your website. Creating a UET tag is pretty straightforward; you can do this on your Tags page. Once you’ve created your tag, you’ll need to copy it onto every page of your site where you want data to be tracked.
The next step is to create a remarketing list; with this step, you’re essentially creating specific segments to target, based on the actions that your website visitors take. Here are a few segments that you can consider targeting:
Product visitors: potential customers who have visited specific pages on your site or browsed specific products.
Shopping cart abandoners: visitors who placed products in their shopping cart but did not go on to complete their purchase.
Lead form abandoners: visitors who filled out a lead form but did not submit said form.
Recent converters: visitors who have either completed a purchase or submitted a lead form recently.
If you’re running a SaaS business, you might create a list of people who have visited your Pricing page. If you’re an eCommerce store owner, you might build a list of people with abandoned carts. Note that your list has to consist of at least 1,000 people before you can start serving ads to the list.
Once you have your list, you’ll then create an “association” between the remarketing list and an ad group. You can choose from either a targeting association or an exclude association here. These are fairly self-explanatory; with target associations, you’re telling Bing to target the people who are in your remarketing list. With exclude associations, you’re telling Bing to exclude the people who are in your list.
Side note: many advertisers simply use the standard targeting associations, but ideally, you should use exclude associations to fine-tune your targeting as well. For example, if you’re running a Black Friday promotion for 80% off storewide, you might choose to exclude customers who have just made a purchase from you; you wouldn’t want them to see your ads and decide to return their products so they can purchase these again while they’re on discount.
Finally, adjust your bids based on the remarketing lists that you’ve associated each ad group with. Say you’ve associated Ad Group A with your “Recent Converters” for example, and you know from experience that 50% of customers who have made a first purchase with you will go on to make a second purchase. Those are some pretty good odds, and if you want to improve your chances of cross-selling or upselling the people in this list, you can easily increase your bids. If necessary, adjust your ad copy, extensions, and landing pages as well.
Bing ads shopping
Retargeting ads aside, Bing also offers Product Ads (organized within Bing Shopping Campaigns). Bing’s Product Ads are pretty similar to Google’s Shopping ads; these allow eCommerce sellers to add rich images, prices and descriptions to ads appearing for eCommerce related searches.
If you want to snag more real estate on Bing’s SERPs, you can do just that with Product Ads; these give you the option to highlight more than one product on the same search results page, and you can also configure your Product Ads to appear next to your text ads.
Before you get started with Bing Shopping campaigns, you’ll have to create a Bing Merchant Center store with a catalog that you can use on your Shopping campaigns. Once you do this, go ahead and use Bing’s Bulk Service or Campaign Management Service to set up your campaign.
Is Bing Ads worth trying?
Now, as a business owner, you probably have a million and one things that you need to take care of. As such, you might balk at the idea of adding yet another item (learning how to use Bing ads!) on your to-do list.
Here’s the thing, though: assuming you’re already on Google Ads, it’s pretty easy to get started with Bing Ads. You don’t need to create any campaigns or ads from scratch; all you need to do is import your existing campaigns from Google Ads, then tweak your settings to make sure that everything’s running smoothly.
The bottom line? It doesn’t take much effort to set up a Bing Ads campaign, and doing so will enable you to reach out to a wider pool of consumers (you’ll also potentially be able to convert them more cost-effectively). In other words: yes, experimenting with Bing Ads is definitely worth your while!
How To Import Google Ads Into Bing
To import Google Ads into Bing, first create a Bing account, then navigate to “Import campaigns” on the top menu. Click on “Continue”, then select the Google Ads account that you want to import your ads from:
After you sign into your Google Ad account, you’ll be asked if you want to import all your existing and new campaigns, or whether you want to choose specific campaigns to import. In order to access your other settings, click on “Show Advanced Options” next to “Import New Items”:
As you can see, all the options come pre-selected, so have a look and turn off the ones that you don’t want to import. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to set your own bid adjustments for your Bing campaign (rather than utilizing your adjustments from Google), so I’d turn off the “Targeting” option.
On top of that, Bing doesn’t support negative broad match keywords, and any Google Ads broad match negatives in your campaign will be converted to phrase match - so you’ll have to import your keywords and rework your lists, or you could choose to not import your negative keywords from Google and come up with a new list for your Bing campaign.
Moving on, be sure to look at your advanced campaign import settings as well; you can access these by clicking on “Show Advanced Options” under the “Import Existing Items” section.
The same thing goes - don’t import your targeting settings, because you’ll want to set your campaign bid adjustments independently of the ones you’ve got on your Google Ad account. Assuming you’ve carved out a seperate advertising budget for Bing, uncheck the “Campaign Budgets” option as well. Finally, uncheck “Ad group, keyword, auto-target and product bids” - like your bid adjustments, you’ll want to optimize and manage these within your Bing campaign, instead of just feeding off what you’ve done on Google Ads.
Once you’re done, review your “Bids and Budgets” section and “Other options” section. The latter allows you to edit settings regarding landing page URLs, tracking templates and campaign names. Finally, decide when you’d like to import your Google Ads campaigns into Bing. You can choose to import the campaigns immediately, once at a later time, or on a recurring basis (daily, weekly or monthly).
Alright, you’re almost done! The final step is to review your Bing Ads account - and make sure all your ads are working perfectly - once the import goes through. In particular, you’ll want to take note of your targeting languages, keyword relevance, and time of day targeting.
First up, note that Bing doesn’t support as many languages as Google Ads, and that Bing only allows one language to be applied to a single ad group. This means: if you’re utilizing multiple languages across different ad groups in the same Google Ad campaign, Bing will choose the highest ranked supported language, and apply it across all your ad groups. Bearing this in mind, you might have to create additional campaigns and restructure your ads or ad groups.
Targeting languages aside, you might need to tweak your time of day targeting as well. Here’s the thing: on Google Ads, your ad scheduling is based on your time zone that you specify when you set up your account. If you’ve configured your ads to run from 10am to 6pm, these will run at that timing in your timezone (say, PST) - so a searcher who’s in EST might only see the ads if they’re logged on and searching at 1pm to 9am their time.
In contrast, Bing Ads allows you to schedule your ads based on the location of the person viewing your ad. If you’ve configured your ads to run from 10am to 6pm, Bing will work out what that is in each searcher’s local time, and serve your ads during that time period. This definitely makes it easier for you to run and optimize your campaigns - just remember to adjust your ad scheduling settings from your newly imported campaigns to reflect the accurate timings in which you want your ads to be served.
Finally, in dealing with keyword relevance, you’ll want to check your Bing query report to see if your ads are being served for unrelated terms (wait for two weeks or so before you do this, though - you’ll need to accumulate enough data first).
Why is it important to do this? Well, many advertisers have pointed out that Google Ads is more advanced in matching an advertiser’s targeted keywords to a searcher’s intent. For instance: if you’re advertising on Google about your promotional airfares to Paris, Google should be able to detect that you want to reach consumers who are searching for Paris in France, and not Paris in Lamar County, Texas. Bing, however, does screw up and match irrelevant search queries to ads on occasion.
Here’s an example: WordStream previously blogged about how one of their clients transferred their well-optimized AdWords account to Bing and left it on autopilot. When this client logged into Google Analytics later on, they found a high bounce rate from Bing, showing that website visitors who landed on their site via Bing quickly exited the website.
After WordStream looked at this advertiser’s search query report, they found that the bulk of their traffic came from visitors who were searching for things that were unrelated to the advertiser’s business. More specifically: this advertiser sells lights and glow sticks for night clubs and partygoers, but their keyword “micro lights” was getting hits for queries such as “Micromax smartphone”, and their keyword “LED lights” brought them traffic from people who wanted to repair their car’s headlights.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, make it a point to regularly review your search queries. You can do this by navigating to the “Reports” tab in your dashboard, and clicking on the “Search Query” report. Pick out all the search queries that aren’t relevant to your business, and add these into your negative keywords list!
Should you use Google Ads or Bing ads?
While I’ve been plugging Bing ads as a great option for advertisers on a tight budget, I’m not saying that Bing ads are vastly superior to Google Ads, or that you should move your entire advertising budget to Bing. At the end of the day, Google is still the 800 pound gorilla with most of the market share, and if you eschew Google in favour of Bing, you’ll be leaving a ton of clicks, conversions and money on the table.
So… Google Ads or Bing Ads? Ideally, you should be using both platforms in conjunction, so that you can maximize your reach, and potentially convert more consumers into paying customers. I’m assuming, of course, that your target audience can be found on both Google and Bing. If you’re only targeting, say, millennials between the ages of 20 to 25, then you don’t have much choice here: you’ll have to go with Google, because you won’t find those young ‘uns using Bing!
Do you prefer using Google Ads or Bing Ads? Which platform brings you more traffic or a lower CPC? Let us know in the comments below!