How Effective are Bing Ads?
I’m biased when it comes to which platform I think is better. Google has the reach and the lion share, but I am baffled at just how much Bing is overlooked when it comes to people on their paid search agenda. I did have the privilege of being a contractor for a few months at Microsoft Bing, so I was exposed to a lot of data and worked on substantial accounts across different verticals.
Once I left my contract, I took over in an SEO / PPC role at a large shoe retail company. We use Google and Bing (also many other forms of advertising) to reach our target audience. So now that we have many months of data, I wanted to share just how effective the ads are on Bing vs. Google. Let’s begin with a few areas that are worth measuring performance.
Bing vs Google Traditional Search Ads Breakdown
This breakdown is for traditional search ads on both respected search engines. What I mean by that is that someone had to go to Google or Bing to then do a search and see an ad. This is a good breakdown of people who use either engine to search to fulfill a need.
Conversion Rate Traditional Search – Winner Bing
Since May of 2016, we have seen on average the conversion rate of Google to be a 4.81%. Bing Ads during this same time came in at 6.70%.
Cost Per Acquisition Traditional Search – Winner Google
Bing has averaged a $13.56 cost per acquisition during this period. When we compare this to Google AdWords, we see that the cost per acquisition came out to $13.05. These numbers are quite similar, but Google has the upper hand in this category.
Cost Per Click Traditional Search – Winner Bing
Google AdWords came out to a $1.59 at an average cost per click. Bing Ads came in at a better value at $1.10 per click during this time.
Traditional Paid Search Conclusion
Excluding total clicks and conversions, Bing Ads won two out of the three rounds to make it a winner for the retail shoe space vertical. These numbers show that while the volume is lower on Bing, the quality of content is pretty sturdy, so it can’t be overlooked.
How about the Search Partners?
Search partners represent third-party sites that team up with Google and Bing and show ads on there. Google does not show who their partners are, but Bing will give you this report. Some of Bing’s partners are places like Amazon, eBay, Duck Duck Go, and much more. If you are interested in learning how to be satisfied with this, you can check out Bing Ads Syndicated Search Partner guide.
Conversion Rate Search Partners – Winner Google
Google AdWords posted a conversion rate of 4.78% while Bing Ads posted a 3.43%. Google does not share who their partners are, and Bing Ads had some horrible months regarding converting people on their network. The safer bet would be Google as we have a consistent conversion rate each month.
Cost Per Acquisition Search Partners – Winner Bing
Bing Ads came in with a $13.53 CPA while Google brought in a $14.46 during this time.
Cost Per Click Search Partners – Winner Google
Google AdWords was able to bring in an average cost per click of $1.45 while Bing on average cost about $2.16.
Conclusion on Search Partners
The winner of this battle was Google AdWords. I’ll admit, the syndicated network from Bing has some significant pros and cons. I wrote about how to be satisfied with the Bing Syndicated Network, but this took many months of continuous report pulling and excluding wrong partners. You have to be constantly reviewing the search partners on Bing to keep this network successful. Google on any given month was very consistent with what they brought into our account while Bing fluctuated a lot throughout the year.
So Which Platform is Better for Paid Search?
You can’t look at this as I’m only going to do one over the over. Your target audience can be found on both engines, so you should not exclude one over the other. Google will bring in the lion’s share of clicks, conversions, and revenue while Bing, in this case, will yield their conversions at a slightly better value than Google.
It’s easy to spend all of your time and money pouring into Google AdWords since that is where the majority of the audience is, but I found here that we get a better ROI when we use Bing. Not to mention that Bing continues to grow in the U.S with Windows 10 and it’s market share, you should start investing serious time into this platform to make it add value to your overall account.
You also have to think of your target market. Bing’s audience is skewed to a little bit older demographic and tends to have people with more money to spend. Bing’s audience works well in the verticals like travel, retail, and telecommunications. Even if your business does not fall into these categories, you should still test this out.