When people hear pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, many only consider Google without realizing that Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing) is also a major player. You don’t have to think of PPC as using one or the other or comparing platforms evenly. It’s no secret that Google dominates the search market but Microsoft Ads can be a highly effective complement to your PPC strategy.
Plus, by familiarizing yourself with the benefits of Microsoft Ads now, you could be ahead of your competitors, thus acquiring more market share at a lower cost.
Here are some of the benefits and also ways in which Microsoft Advertising differs from Google Ads so you’ll need to be careful to not treat them the same.
Benefits of Microsoft Advertising
Visibility on Three Search Engines
Microsoft Ads are displayed across three search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. This helps to fill the gaps between users searching for your services on various search engines. You want to be where your customers are and with over 638 million unique Microsoft Search Network users globally, conducting 13.7 billion monthly searches, not utilizing Microsoft Ads is leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
In the past, we typically always recommended Microsoft Ads for clients who had high-end or luxury products but now we recommend it for all clients who use PPC services. The Microsoft Audience Network tends to be a more affluent audience with 44% having graduated from college and 24% with an income in the top 25% tier. That being said, we have also found that when we run ads on Microsoft Ads, the majority of the search volume comes from personal computers (PCs) such as laptops whereas, with Google Ads, we tend to see more volume from mobile devices. If your tracking metrics or conversions include the action of dialing the telephone number(s) on your website, ensure you have the ability to know when someone clicks through your ads on a PC and picks up the phone to call you because you still want to be able to attribute that contact to your paid ad. There are many services out there that do this by injecting a snippet of code on your website that will change the telephone number when someone is clicking through to your website from a paid ad. Our company prefers to use WordStream for its Call Tracking option, reporting tools, and other helpful features.
Superior Targeting & Extensions
Microsoft Ads also has far better-targeting options than Google Ads, which gives you more control. For example, you can target by device if you only want your ads to be shown on mobile devices vs desktops and you can also apply settings at the ad group level vs being restricted to settings at the campaign level on Google Ads. You can now also target users based on their LinkedIn profiles.
Both platforms offer the ability to add extensions to your ads, which can increase the real estate your ad takes up on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and offer the user more information about your services or products. Most extensions exist on both platforms, including location, call, callout, and structured snippet, promotion, and price, but Microsoft Ads offers an additional one: image extensions. From our internal testing the effectiveness is debatable so far but being able to show an image with your ad should inherently draw more attention to it.
Google Ads Import Tool
Another benefit that makes using Microsoft Ads an easy choice is their Google Ads Import Tool. With a few simple clicks, you can import your campaigns from Google Ads to Microsoft Ads. However, be careful if you have an automatic bidding strategy in Google Ads, such as maximize conversions. With less competition on Microsoft Ads, you likely don’t need your bids to be as high as on Google Ads so you will want to check those bids after importing and adjust your bids and strategy accordingly for Microsoft Ads. Also, pay attention to the locations. Sometimes it’s not a 1:1 import from Google Ads and you’ll need to adjust location targeting as well. Lastly, Microsoft Search Network is not the intelligently refined search engine that Google is. Some of the “close variants” aren’t close at all so you may want to refine your targeted keywords more on Microsoft Ads. It’s helpful to utilize the Bing keyword research tool to ensure your keywords make sense for what’s being searched on that network and that your keywords have enough search volume.
Microsoft Ads also has an automated import scheduler tool that can keep it synchronized with Google Ads with no extra effort. Use caution here, as the efforts you’ve taken to optimize your Microsoft campaigns following the initial import could be overwritten in automated imports that follow. If you choose to schedule additional automated imports, be sure to customize your import settings to exclude settings and updates that aren’t beneficial to your Microsoft Ads campaigns.
Now, Hurry Over To Microsoft Ads!
Hopefully, by now you realize the advantages of utilizing Microsoft Ads as well as Google Ads for your PPC strategy. There are some key differences both positive and negative so it’s important to have realistic expectations. The cost-per-click and competition tend to be lower and impression shares higher on Microsoft Ads but that also means less search volume. In our opinion, Microsoft Ads is a low-risk, high reward complement for your PPC strategy but it should still be used in conjunction with Google Ads if your budget allows for advertising on both platforms.