In our most recent blog series, we dug into launching paid advertising campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. Now, we’re switching gears to compare the two most popular paid advertising platforms in the game: Bing Ads and Google Ads.
We’ll take a look at each platform’s offerings, their pros and cons and some standout features. Then we’ll tackle how to decide which platform is right for your business.
Meet Bing Ads
While widely considered the neglected younger sibling of search engines, Bing Ads still has a great deal to offer.
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine with approximately 100 billion monthly searches, Bing comes in second with over 1 billion visits each month. The difference is huge, but a billion visits shouldn’t be ignored. And Microsoft reports that for U.S. console users, Bing has a market share of 36.97%.
Bing Ads are run by Microsoft, and they take advantage of the company’s three search engines – Bing, Yahoo and AOL. (Bing Ads was rebranded as Microsoft Advertising in 2019. But colloquially, they’re still referred to as Bing Ads, so we’ll stick with that name here.)
When running campaigns on Bing, your ads will be shown on all three of these engines, broadening your audience reach.
Like Google, Bing can help you build pay-per-click campaigns that will find relevant users, increase brand awareness and boost conversions. Bing also offers a wide variety of ad styles to choose from, including:
The assets you’ll need for your campaign will vary based on the ad style you choose, just like with Google. But, once you choose an ad style and gather your assets, all you need is a budget and a Bing Ads account to launch your campaign.
The Pros of Bing Ads
Advertising on Bing means you’re also going to be advertising on Yahoo, AOL and other partnering sites. This allows you to find users you’d be missing if you only run Google Ad campaigns.
And yes, Google’s search traffic outranks Bing. But being the leader in search engine traffic means you have many more advertisers competing for keywords and visibility. With Bing, your search volume will be smaller, but with less competition, there are more chances for your campaigns to perform successfully.
Plus, Bing can be easier on your wallet. Less advertisers on Bing means you’ll get more bang for your buck from your campaign. Reports by Search Engine People have shown that the average CPC (cost-per-click) for a Bing Ad is 70% less compared to Google Ads.
The Cons of Bing Ads
Bing’s smaller search pool can certainly save you money, but you’re also missing out on audiences from the internet’s largest search engine.
Bing Ads are usually one step behind Google Ads. This shows in areas like their interface being more complicated and less flexible than Google Ads, additional features rolling out more slowly than Google or having fewer options for automated bidding.
Compared to Google Ads, Bing Ads also have less flexibility with your ad copy. With Google Ads, you can have 1-3 potential ad headlines, as opposed to 1-2 with Bing, and your ad description can be 90 characters long, compared to 80.
Plus, while it won’t affect your day-to-day campaign operations, we think it’s worth mentioning that several reviews of Bing Ads cited difficulty getting help from customer support.
Don’t count Bing out yet. Bing Ads has several offerings that Google Ads either doesn’t have or can’t compete with.
- Targeting Devices: Overall, the options for device targeting with Google Ads are much less comprehensive than with Bing Ads. Bing Ads enables its advertisers to find audiences based on the type of device their using and the operation system. It also offers more specific, advanced device targeting for mobile phone ads than Google Ads. According to Google, some of their device targeting capabilities for mobile and tablet users are not available on certain campaign types.
- Ad Group Targeting: Both platforms allow you to configure your ad campaigns based on your preferred specifications, including network, location and language. But Bing takes this ability one step further, allowing you to do the same with individual ad groups. With Bing, you can also assign each of your ad groups a different time zone to run during, which Google doesn’t allow.
- Google Ads Importing: If you already have ads campaigns running and are dreading starting from scratch with Bing, not to worry. You can take your Google assets and import them into your Bing Ads manager, saving you lots of time.
- Reach a Different Audience: We know Google has the upper hand when it comes to search traffic. But as HubSpot points out, it’s worth mentioning that Bing Ads reach an older audience. Fifty four percent of Bing users are reportedly over the age of 45. Why is this important? Depending on your business, this could be a key audience for you. Maybe you’re looking to target older buyers or customers with more disposable income.
Now that we’ve taken a look at Bing Ads, let’s get to know Google Ads better.
Meet Google Ads
If you’re even a little familiar with paid advertising, you’ll have heard of Google Ads. As the most popular search engine in the world, Google accounts for 92% of the worldwide search engine market share. Google also lays claim to 57% of search ad revenue in the United States.
With Google Ads, you have two types of ad campaigns to choose from – Search and Display.
Search campaigns are text-based. They’re intended to target audience members who are looking for businesses within your industry.
In case you didn’t know, search campaigns in general allow advertisers to bid on keywords to get their ads in front of their targeted audience. For example, if you’re a jeweler, you’d most likely bid on keywords like “engagement rings” to catch new prospects.
Looking at a Google search results page, you’ll often see Google Search ads promoted at the top of your page. They often ask audience members to engage with elements like click-to-call buttons, website links and appointment bookers.
While Search ads are geared towards audience members looking for your products or services, Display ads are used to increase brand awareness and find new potential leads. Instead of being triggered by searched keywords, these image-based ads will be placed on the websites, videos and apps where your target audience spends their time.
Like Bing Ads, Google Ads allows you to advertise on different devices and use different creative assets like videos and graphics.
Search campaigns are meant to target customers in the decision stage of the Buyer’s Journey. They’re ready to make a purchase or book your services. On the other hand, display campaigns are the most useful for businesses looking to expand their audience and build brand awareness.
Pros of Google Ads
The biggest pro for Google Ads is the size of their audience. Google uses two networks for their campaigns – the Search and Display networks.
Google’s Display network is comprised of over 2 million websites, catering to 90% of internet users.
Yes, Bing Ads has a smaller audience to work with, meaning they can be more specific about user demographics – helpful information when you’re building a targeted campaign. But while Google user demographics are a little harder to nail down, Google Ads has recently upped its demographics targeting capabilities, making it easier for you to find the right audience for your campaign.
It’s important that we mention that Google Ads are often more expensive than Bing Ads – but consider what you’re paying for. Not only is their reach bigger and broader than Bing’s, but generally, Google Ads has the upper hand on conversation rates. Of course, every campaign and industry standard is different. But overall, Google Ads’ average conversion rate is 3.75%, while Bing Ads is around 2.94%. Higher conversion rates mean more potential leads for your business.
Cons of Google Ads
Yes, even the Big Kahuna of paid advertising has a few drawbacks.
- High Demand and Competition: Their reach is a double-edged sword. While Google may open you up to the largest networks, you’ll be competing with many more advertisers. This means your top keywords will have more companies bidding for them, leading to inflated campaign costs.
- Missing Other Potential Audiences: While there’s an incredible number of Google users worldwide, you’re still missing out on other search engine users when you’re only using their platform.
- Stricter Regulations: Compared to Bing Ads, Google Ads tends to be much stricter about the content of your ad campaigns. This includes restrictions or even bans on specific ads for alcoholic beverages, gambling, political issues and adult-themed content.
With their reach power, conversion success and overall market share, Google doesn’t have much to prove when it comes to additional standout features. But there is one major offering that other platforms don’t have:
- Separate Networks for Search and Display Ads: The Search network allows your ads to show up on relevant websites and applications to convert potential leads quicker. The Display network, however, is unique. It helps you find leads on the websites, apps and related spaces they spend the most time online. There, you can create brand awareness and demand by showing eye-catching graphics and videos.
Which One is Right for You?
As is the case with many marketing strategies, it depends. Choosing Bing Ads or Google Ads for your company should be a decision based on your goals, your creative assets, your targeted audience and your budget.
But we still have a few general suggestions:
Bing Ads would be a good choice for:
- Companies with smaller budgets for paid advertising.
- Companies without images, videos or creative assets they want to highlight.
- Companies targeting older audiences or with more expensive services/products.
- Companies looking to customize both their campaigns and their ad groups.
Google Ads would be a good choice for:
- Companies looking to drive a high volume of leads, quickly.
- Companies looking for audience members in the Decision stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
- Companies with images, videos or creative assets they want to highlight.
- Companies looking to expand brand awareness and build their audience.
- Companies willing to invest more money into their paid advertising.
By the way, there’s no rule saying that you can’t run ads on both Bing and Google! So if you have the means, running campaigns on both is absolutely an option.
Still having a hard time choosing a paid advertising platform? Or just not sure where to start when it comes to building a campaign? Get in touch with our team – we’re ready to help!