“Google is like the person that has it all together but is too conservative sometimes, and Bing is like the party friend who is open to anything but is a hot mess.” – Sarah Burke
When most people think about search engines, Google usually comes to mind first. Considering that most people refer to online searching as “googling,” it’s not surprising that Google controls almost 2/3 of the market share and has seen a 38% increase in paid search impressions.
Even though Google AdWords is a dominant player in the paid search market, there are other search engines that reach large audiences.
Bing Ads (partnered with Yahoo!), has emerged as a worthy competitor and it is attempting to obtain more market share by attracting the attention of small businesses with small marketing budgets (not to mention that any ads you run on Bing will also appear on Yahoo!).
After reading through many resources, I was actually very surprised how similar Bing Ads is to Google AdWords in terms of paid search.
Let’s compare the two search engines.
When investing in paid search, there is one very important question that all businesses should consider when choosing where to display their ads. That question is; which platform are your customers using to search?
For most businesses, Google is a obvious answer to that question, but businesses should know that Bing has its own specific audience of loyal searchers who may just align better with your target audience.
Who uses Bing?
- People older than 35-years-old
- People who are more likely to have children
- People who aren’t as ‘techy’
- People who live in America. 85% of Bing users are located in the U.S.
Who uses Google?
- Younger, college educated users
- People are more tech savvy
- Less likely to have children (due to age)
- Users span across many countries (Google is used globally)
Other than the demographic differences, one of the most obvious differences between Bing and Google are the way ads are displayed.
As you can see, Bing displays a lot more pay-per-click (PPC) ads on its search engine page results (SERPs). It shows four ads on the top of the page, then the shopping ad extensions in the top right and then six more ads below the shopping extension. The ad icon is also a lot less noticeable then on Google.
Google shows the shopping ad extension on the top of the page then shows the PPC ads below that (in this case there is only one ad for “ski clothing”). The ad icon on Google is to the right of the description and is enclosed in a green box, this is a lot more noticeable then Bing’s bolded, grey ad icon.
Other similarities and differences include:
Bing Ads, much like Google AdWords allows you to research keywords and then requires you bid on keywords that will result in the display of your ad. Both platforms offer tools to help conduct keyword research; the Google Keyword Planner and Bing’s “Research Keywords” tool (Bing has also introduced a Keyword Planner that is very similar to the AdWords Keyword Planner).
Both platforms allow you to geo-target your ad campaign. Geo-targeting allows you to select a specific region for your ad to appear in. This helps weed out people who are not likely to lead to a conversion from your ad. It also allows you to target specific audiences more directly. One thing that Bing allows you to do that AdWords doesn’t, is that you can set target locations at the campaign level as well as the ad group level.
When it comes to ad copy, Bing uses one 71-character line compared to Google’s two 35-character description lines. Bing does not allow full-on image ads like AdWords does, so Bing ads should be in traditional text format.
Expenses & Setting Budgets
Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads use a bidding system in addition to the cost-per-click a business is willing to pay for a keyword. When it comes to selecting how much you want to spend, Bing will suggest what you should pay based off the keyword that you selected and the ad position that you desire.
When it comes down to the cost of each of these platforms, Bing takes the cake. Bing’s cost-per-click is 50-70% less than Google AdWords. There is also 36% less competition on Bing than on Google AdWords.
Bing allows you to set daily or monthly budgets, while AdWords only allows you to set daily budgets.
The city of Myrtle Beach, SC wanted to launch an ad campaign that would attract more tourists to the town. In order to increase the town’s visibility to potential vacationers they hired Scott Schult along with a local marketing agency, Visibility and Conversions, to attract visitors to the area.
When selecting their paid search platform, Schult knew that they wouldn’t get as much volume with Bing Ads as they would with Google AdWords, but he knew that the leads he would get from Bing would convert at a lower cost.
They found that the average user session from Bing Ads was almost twice as long as Google AdWords and it cost 5% less per conversion.
“When Visibility and Conversions did a remarketing in Paid Search lodging campaign for people who have visited the website before and shown interest, the numbers skewed even more in Bing’s favor with Bing Ads showing a 15 percent less cost per conversion at $2.42 versus $2.09.” – Scott Schult
Their strategy included bidding on the top keywords for travel, eating, dining and attractions.
They felt like their Bing Ad campaign had a huge impact on the success of the city’s website and boosting interest in Myrtle Beach as a vacation destination.