It’s been a while since Bing Ads became Microsoft Ads. But how effective is the platform in 2020 and how well does it compete with Google Ads?
When Microsoft adCenter became Bing Ads in September 2012, Microsoft called the change “not only a new name, but an improved experience with new features to help you better manage your campaigns and complete tasks faster.”
Fast forward 8 years – and another name change – and Microsoft Advertising remains the strongest competitor to Google Ads in terms of paid search. This is thanks to the similar features and that differ in areas that benefit certain demographics and users.
But how effective is Microsoft Ads compared to Google Ads? Google Ads is the bigger name with the furthest reach, but what about the benefits of using Microsoft Ads with its cheaper CPC and high performance for affluent demographics?
Let’s run through the benefits and challenges with using Microsoft Ads over Google Ads and why it might be more effective to use both together in a PPC campaign.
Is it Bing Ads or Microsoft Ads?
Firstly, it’s important to note that there’s a lot of articles that reference Bing Ads. On 30th April 2019, Bing Ads re-branded as Microsoft Advertising (or Microsoft Ads for short). Where some of the confusion lies is with the name of the search engine.
The search engine is still called Bing but the paid advertising service is called Microsoft Ads.
Advantages of using Microsoft Ads
When it comes to PPC advertising, the first platform that springs to mind is often Google Ads. But there are so many PPC platforms out there with their own unique benefits and one of the best Google Ads alternatives is Microsoft Ads.
Here are some of the main benefits to using the platform.
Depending on your budget, using Microsoft Ads can be more cost-effective than Google Ads. This is because of its cheaper CPC (cost-per-click). Figures vary but CPCs can differ anywhere from 32.5% to 60.2% less than Google Ads. If you’re on a tight budget, you have to be meticulous with your bid management so Microsoft Ads might be the solution.
Generally, Microsoft faces less competition on its keywords. This helps lower your CPC (cost-per-click), which means you’re paying less to target a demographic with more disposable income. According to TheeDigital, campaigns on Microsoft Advertising face approximately 36% less competition than Google Ads.
When it comes to search, Google rules the roost. But Microsoft Search Network makes the most of its smaller market share (the following data is courtesy of Comscore qSearch from December 2019, global desktop traffic only):
- 12.2 billion monthly desktop searches
- 592 million unique desktop users
- 11.5% desktop market share
This is a huge opportunity for niche advertisers when combined with smaller competition and lower CPCs on Microsoft Ads.
Microsoft Ads leverages the power of Bing search, as Google Ads does with Google. But their target audiences differ. For Bing, nearly 75% of users are over the age of 35 and around 50% have an income of $75,000 or more. For sellers of luxury items, this is perfect.
Bing users have a higher income and they spend it too – on average, Bing users spend 22% more on purchases than any other search engine.
Microsoft Ads also has a form of audience targeting called In-market Audiences that uses customer lists containing users ready to buy based on purchase intent and where they’ve clicked on Bing. Using these kinds of features can have a major effect on the success of a PPC campaign, as Australian online marketplace MyDeal found out. By using In-market Audiences, they saw a 389% YoY (year-on-year) rise in conversions.
Microsoft Ads has the advantage over Google Ads when it comes to device targeting. Bing allows a company to target a consumer based on the specific device they’re using, as well as the OS installed on it. Similarly, Microsoft Ads target mobile users specifically and allow advertisers the ability to discount desktop viewers altogether.
Compatibility with Google Ads
As they say “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” – Microsoft Ads lets you import an existing Google Ads campaign into its platform in a matter of clicks. That saves you having to manually recreate a successful campaign.
Remarketing produces higher conversion rates
In a Microsoft case study, remarketing was recommended for a campaign for short-term loan company, Lending Stream. The idea was to retarget users who had engaged with their site before and get them to return and convert. The result was a conversion rate increase by 80% and a CPA (cost-per-acquisition) decrease of 77%.
Disadvantages of using Microsoft Ads
Of course, one of the main drawbacks of using Microsoft Ads is their limited reach, compared to Google Ads. Google has more of a dominant position over the online advertising market – indeed, they control at least 93% of the search market – and most businesses will look to use Google Ads because of its popularity, regardless of its success or failure.
However, Microsoft Ads can reach a good portion of online users too, and simply choosing to not make use of Bing ads can be a bad idea. Over 5 billion searches per month are conducted via Bing, and at least 63 million people in Bing’s user base aren’t reached by Google Ads.
I addressed the advantages of Microsoft’s market share but in terms of search engine market share, Bing only holds 2.61% compared to Google’s 92.06% (as of May 2020). The gap widens on mobile where 53% of paid-search clicks take place.
While Bing’s market share doesn’t necessarily affect the performance of a Microsoft Ads campaign, it’s worth knowing for larger advertisers with growth-aligned goals.
ROI (return on investment)
By ROI, I refer to your return on investment to Google Ads as an advertising platform. According to Google, it “conservatively estimated” that for every $1 a business spent on Google Ads, they received $8 in profit through Google Search and Ads.
That’s an 800% ROI just from using Google Ads.
No Customer Match (yet)
Although Customer Match is in the pipeline for Microsoft Ads, it’s still a specific feature to Google Ads and allows advertisers to create and target customers from specific customer lists.
They can do this by uploading contact details like email addresses, and target customers on all of Google’s different networks including Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail.
No Smart Shopping campaigns
Another Google-specific feature, Smart Shopping combines Shopping Ads with display remarketing to automate the bidding process and ad placement to promote products and services across multiple networks.
What’s more, because it uses remarketing audiences, you’re more likely to convert as visitors have already interacted with your site.
- 3 Reasons Why Your Google & Microsoft Ads Aren’t Converting And How To Fix Them
- 5 of The Best Microsoft Ads Experts in 2020
- Use Microsoft Advertising recommendations to enhance your campaigns
- Don’t forget Microsoft Ads! Why other search engines are important for PPC strategies
- Let Microsoft Advertising manage your bids with bid strategies
- Microsoft Ads – Budget and Bid Strategies
- Smart Bidding: A Google Ads Guide
- Importance of Google Ads Structure
- A Guide To Google Ads Remarketing
- How To Make Automated Changes With Google Ads Scripts
- What Is Search Excellence And How To Achieve It With Google Ads
- 10 of the Best Google Ads Tools and Software For 2020
Should you use Microsoft Ads, Google Ads, or both?
You can choose to use one or the other but what about combining the efforts of Microsoft and Google together? After all, Microsoft Ads lets you import a Google Ads campaign, so the opportunity is already there. Combining the two can only increase the effectiveness of Microsoft Ads and Google Ads.
The two biggest PPC ad networks in the world have their own niches and benefits, so it makes sense to use them together if it makes sense to your vertical. And, if you start off with Google Ads alone and then change your mind, you can import your Google ads campaign over to Microsoft Ads.
There is a challenge with using both: how are you going to manage two types of ad accounts? Fortunately, Adzooma has a solution. Our online advertising platform allows you to manage both Microsoft and Google Ads accounts under one management screen so you never have to swap between platforms.
All the important aspects of your PPC management is automated, leaving you with the tasks that need a human touch.
Interested in knowing more? Head to our Features page to see what more Adzooma can offer you today.