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Many businesses will be utilising Google Ads as the primary platform for their PPC (pay per click) campaigns due to its majority market share within the UK.

A question that very often arises from these businesses, is how to we grow our PPC channel further when we have maximised all of the current networks within Google Ads? Today there are an array of options available with many social media platforms that offer PPC campaigns within their environment such as Twitter and Facebook. These platforms may not have audiences that fit your businesses services or products, so the question remains, what other paid channels are available?

Despite Google’s dominance there are still alternative search engines operating that have a user base that a business can market to. Microsoft’s Bing search engine has the UK’s second largest market share and conveniently offers a fully featured PPC platform named Bind Ads.

Search Engine Market Share

What is Microsoft Bing Ads?

Bing Ads is an online marketing platform that marketers can utilise to create and manage PPC campaigns for ads on the Bing search engine, similar to Google Ads.

Google Ads allows a marketer to run ads on the Google Search Network, Display Network and Search Partner Network generically known as the Google Network. The network consists of Google’s own search engine, their owned platforms such as YouTube and any “partner” sites which are not owned by Google but have ad placement available via Google AdSense.

Bing Ads is no different in terms of their offering other than ads run on Bing’s search network. The network includes Bing’s regional sites (.com, .co.uk etc.) and sites operated by Bing, such as MSN.com. Also included within this network is AOL.com, Yahoo.com and sites owned or operated by AOL and Yahoo. Bing Ads also has an option to display ads across other third party websites, owned and operated by Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s syndicated search partner network.

In essence Bing’s platform is very similar to Google’s with the main differentiator being the networks and placements that ads will appear, along with minor differences in presentation of those ads.

Bing & Google SERPs

As illustrated above there are slight differences in the layout of the ads within the SERP’s (search engine results pages) however the basic composition of the search and shopping ad formats are the same. This allows advertisers to utilise all of the features available to them within other platforms.

Bing Ads Features

Whilst aesthetically the UI (user interface) within Bing’s platform may appear different to Google Ads, all of the features, tools, reporting and functionality are present in one form or another. Prior to the rebrand of Google AdWords to Google Ads and the launch of their new interface in early 2019, the two platforms interfaces would have looked much similar.

Bing Ads & Google Ads Interface Comparison

Ad Distribution

As previously discussed, ad distribution options that are available when creating campaigns within Bing Ads are:

  • Bing, AOL, and Yahoo search (owned and operated) only
  • Bing, AOL, and Yahoo syndicated search partners only
  • All other locations will use all search networks even if the other two options are selected.

One distinctive feature that is not present is the “display network” that Google has at its disposal.

Bing does however have a great feature available to manage partner sites in the form of the “website exclusions” within the advanced settings section of the campaign settings. This feature allows for the granular control of search partner sites, by excluding specific URL’s that you may wish to exclude when opting in to search partners on a campaign.

Ad Formats

The ad formats available will again be very familiar to any paid marketer that has experience with Google Ads. The formats are also structure to allow for the ability to import corresponding ad types from Google’s platform.

  • Expanded Text Ads
  • Dynamic Search Ads
  • Product Ads
  • Microsoft Audience Ads
  • Bing Ads in Bing Smart Search
  • App Install Ads
  • Standard Text Ads

A full guide outlining each ad type, along with their respective composition can be found in the Bing Ad Types guide.

Again, the lack of a display network for Bing, any display related formats are not present here. It’s also worthwhile noting that Bing Merchant Centre is slightly different to Google’s counterpart and may take some time to familiarise with. In addition, product feeds may need some minor adjustments to work with Bing Merchant Centre as outlined within Bing’s feed specification guidelines.

Extensions

The ad extensions available within Bing Ads are again replicas of those seen within Google Ads with minor differences in their presentation within search results.

  • Location Extension
  • Call Extension
  • Sitelink Extension
  • Image Extension
  • App Extension
  • Callout Extension
  • Review Extension
  • Structured Snippet Extension
  • Price Extension

One unique extension however is the “image extension” which allows advertisers to display a visual element alongside a text ad such as a company logo.

Further details of each extension alongside details of their composition are available on the Bing Ads extension guide.

Tools

As with other platforms there are tools available within Bing Ads to help manage, research, optimise, diagnose issues and plan your campaigns which are outlined below:

  • Bing Ads Editor – A desktop application available for Mac and Windows, for managing campaigns that has additional features to the web editor such as making bulk edits.
  • Bing Ads Intelligence – A desktop application for researching and optimising your search campaign keywords.
  • Keyword Planner – A web based tool used to research keywords, ad groups and view estimated and historical data or costs.
  • Bing Ads App – A mobile application available for iOS and Android devices that allows real time access to data, along with account management.
  • Ad Preview Tool – A web based tool for identifying issues with ads and diagnosing potential issues such as keyword conflicts.

Those familiar with Google Ads tools will have no problems utilising the Bing counterparts as they are very much the same.

Reporting

Bing Ads has the same level of campaign management reporting available within competitors’ platforms, with real time data showing for impressions, clicks, conversions and other metrics. As with Google Ads, there is also access to additional data via the “dimensions” tab.

The differing area is with in depth reporting. Google allows reports to be run, rendered online and then exported. Bings reporting are similar, however only allow users to export the report data to .csv, .tsv or .xlsx file as outlined within their reports guide.

Tracking

As with any online marketing channel, tracking its activity is imperative to monitor performance and calculate ROI. There are two main aspects that will need to be tracked; the traffic generated from campaigns in addition to the conversion data. Google Ads has auto tagging features, along with conversion tracking and ecommerce tracking available to track traffic in Google Analytics and to monitor conversions within Google Ads.

Bing Ads has similar features available for tracking and conversions in the form of:

  • Auto-Tagging – This feature automatically tags UTM tags to URL’s so that applications such as Google Analytics correctly tracks source, medium and campaigns from Bing Ads. A guide to enabling auto-tagging is available on Bings support site: https://help.bingads.microsoft.com/#apex/3/en/56762/2.
  • Universal Event Tracking (UET) – Similar to Google Ads Conversion Tracking, UET is a JavaScript that is implemented sitewide across your web site. Universal Event Tracking allows Bing Ads features such as conversion tracking, remarketing, audience targeting and automated bidding strategies to be utilised within an account once implemented. Bing have a resource discussing “everything you need to know about setting up UET” available online.

A main feature that is not present is the ability to link Google Analytics with Bing Ads. Google Ads allows data sharing with Google Analytics to share data and display metrics across both applications.

Import Features

Whilst navigating Bing Ads user will find the campaign import feature that has two main importers tools available. The first of the import methods is “Import from Google Ads” that will be discussed in depth at a later stage within this article. The second is “Import from file”, which allows advertisers to import Google Ads and Bing Ads campaign exports of the following file types; .csv, .tsv, .xlsx or .zip.

Google Ads to Bing Ads Import

A fantastic feature that Bing Ads has available is the “Import from Google Ads” tool. This tool utilises Google Ads API to sign in to your account and import the campaigns that you select directly in to Bing Ads.

This process will import all of the data associated to a campaign, including ad groups, settings, targeting, ads, extensions and other elements, all of which are outlined within Bing Ads “What gets imported” documentation. During the import process the import tool will identify areas for conflict and bring them to your attention to address.

There are some items that can’t be imported but can be re-created:

  • Account-level App Extensions
  • Ad group-level App Extensions
  • Ad group-level Location Extensions
  • Ad group-level Call Extensions
  • Automated rules
  • IP exclusions
  • Remarketing lists and associations

As Bing Ads is a slightly different platform to Google’s, with a differing search engine user base, it is imperative to address these areas following an import:

  • Budgets across the account should be reviewed as many campaigns may not require the same daily budget. The Bing keyword planner is available to gauge budget adjustments with its “estimator” features.
  • Bids across all keywords should be adjusted to account for the changes in costs and search behaviour. Again, the keyword planner tool can be utilised to research estimated bid data.
  • Targeting options should be removed and recreated based upon data collated over time from within the Bing Ads reports as options such as time of day and location may be significantly different between platforms.
  • Keywords and their match types may not necessarily perform the same as they did within campaigns on Google. There may also be scope for additional keywords, phrases or terms to be added to campaign as an entirely different audience is using the Bing search engine, there intent or terminology may vary. The keyword planner is once again a great place to research potential new keywords which can then be tested within campaigns.
  • Negative keywords are the final area that should be reviewed post import. Firstly, there may be negatives in place that would convert well within Bing Ads which did not within Google. Only trialling and testing the impact of removing certain negatives should be performed cautiously and reviewed frequently. However, the primary reason for reviewing negative keywords is due to Bing Ads not supporting broad match negative keywords. Any broad match negative keywords imported will be treated as phrase match negative keywords within Bing Ads.

By following these areas of review when importing campaigns from Google Ads, your account will be well placed to maximise its performance with Bing’s users.

User Base

Analysing the demographics data that Bing last provided in as part of its “See who’s on Bing” infographic we can take away some key highlights regarding those using the search engine:

  • Bing produces 5 billion average monthly searches. Which seems like a staggering figure, but recent data suggests that Google produces a staggering 3.5 billion searches per day. Of the 5 billion, 362 million searches are retail based.
  • 30% of “Bing’s target audience” generate an annual household income of over $100,000.
  • Bing is used by 51% Women and 49% Men.
  • Users have a 20% higher buyer power average than the average internet searcher.
  • Almost 20% of Bing’s audience are between 35 – 44 years old.
  • 20% of users are more likely to have taken 20 or more international trips for pleasure within the last 3 years.
  • 6.4 million users across the Bing network are “very likely” to purchase a new residence within the next 6 months.
  • 49% of users are more likely to have spent $7500 – $9999 on consumer electronics with an online retailer within the last 6 months.
  • Over 20% of users are likely to have purchased $500 or more of organic food products within the last 30 days.
Whos Using Bing Inforgraphic

The key points create a picture of a small, affluent audience of users that are further in to a buying process in an environment that is less competitive than other platforms. This audience is almost equal in numbers of male and female users whom are middle aged, more inclined to travel and experience outdoor activities and make higher value purchases, especially with regards to technology.

This data outlines Bing as a search engine with a smaller user base than its major competitor that has a large audience within a buying process. It also averages much lower CPC’s.

Search Volume & Cost Per Click

Due to the much smaller user base of Bing and its search partner network it’s obvious to conclude that search volumes are much smaller than the search giant behemoth that is Google. Google’s UK market share dominance of 89% dwarfs Bing’s market share of 6.7%.

A very competitive keyword such as “ipad” has been run through both search engines keyword planner tools to illustrate the differences in search volume.

Bing Ads & Google Ads Keyword Planner Interfaces

There is a stark difference in the average monthly searches with only 15,000 performed on Bing compared to the 301,000 performed on Google. The other glaring difference is the estimated CPC (cost per click) of £0.58 vs £0.97.

An additional keyword planner lookup illustrates an even bigger disparity in search volumes and estimated bids.

Although campaigns may not yield a huge number of clicks and in turn conversions, in most cases it will produce much lower CPC’s and CPA’s (cost per acquisition). The ability to generate additional conversions, for a much lower cost is the main reason why businesses should utilise Bing Ads.

Conclusion

Despite having a much smaller user base, Bing Ads is a fantastic platform that can be effectively utilised by businesses to grow their PPC with little effort and harness a user base outside of Google’s network. The UI and features within Bing Ads will be familiar to those currently managing campaigns within Google’s platform, however the audiences may differ. So utilising tools such as the keyword planner to adjust campaigns, along with creating ads and enabling extensions that speak to those audiences is key to maximising results.

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Author Biography

Mathew


A 14 year industry veteran that specialises in wide array of online marketing areas such as PPC, SEO, front end web development, WordPress and Magento development.

Accredited Google Partner & Bing Ads qualifications, BA (Hons) in Digital Marketing. One half of the Director duo at Kumo.