Microsoft Ads (previously Microsoft adCenter & Bing Ads) is still the biggest competitor to Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) when it comes to search engine marketing.
Nevertheless, if you’re a search engine marketer and if someone asks you to name two search engines, it’s more likely that you mention Google and Bing (or maybe Yahoo), right? Of course, there are other search engines like Baidu, Yandex,
Blekko, DuckDuckGo, Ask, AOL, etc.
However, Google and Bing are the two real search engines that matter the most to advertisers. Why? Because Google and Bing (Microsoft & Yahoo & AOL) have a combined market share of over 90% in the U.S. search market according to comScore.
Google vs. Microsoft Search Network: Search Market Share
Google has a search market share of 63.8% in the U.S. and the market share of Microsoft Search Network (Bing + Yahoo + AOL) is around 33.7%. So it means that when you advertise on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads (short for Microsoft Advertising) you’re already reaching 96% of searchers in the U.S.
If you’re not promoting your business on Bing then it’s like you’re ignoring a large population as 1/3rd of all searches takes places on non-Google websites.
Now here are 10 features unique to Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) when compared to Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords):
1. The Microsoft Search Network
The Microsoft Search Network helps you reach 639 million unique searchers worldwide on the Bing + Yahoo + AOL Network. It includes 138 million unique searchers in the U.S. and over 44 million of them do not use Google.
According to Microsoft, 27% of their ‘clicks’ come exclusively from the Microsoft Search Network and their users spend 20% more than the average internet searchers. And it also means that if your competitors are not using Microsoft Ads (or Bing Ads) then you also get a competitive advantage.
2. Low Cost Per Click (CPC) = Better ROI
Yes, that’s right! When you advertise on Google Ads, you’re paying a premium. AdGooroo, a market research company for search engine advertisers, previously compared Google Ads and Microsoft Ads based on different performance metrics like Ad Impressions, Click-through Rates, Cost Per Click. They find that the average Cost Per Click (CPC) on Google Ads for all the categories that they tested were higher than that of Microsoft Ads (or Bing Ads).
I have also noticed in the past that the average Cost Per Click on Google Ads were 30-60% higher than that of Microsoft Ads for the same set of keywords. And for highly competitive keywords the average Cost Per Click on Google Ads were double than that of Bing Ads. Also, an infographic by Search Engine Journal suggests that the Cost Per Mille (CPM) on Google Ads was 4.2 to 11.2 times higher than on Bing Ads in U.S.
3. Target Audience
The target audience and their interests are different for Microsoft Ads and Google Ads. Because 75% of the Bing users are over the age of 35 and 50% of them have an income of $75,000. And that makes Microsoft Ads a perfect advertising platform for selling luxury items.
4. Import Google Ads Campaigns
If you already running advertising campaigns on Google Ads, then you can import those campaigns into Microsoft Ads so that you can run the same ads on Bing. It’s an effortless way to expand your advertising reach. On the flipside, Google Ads won’t let you import advertising campaigns from third-party networks.
5. Filter Search Partners
On Google Ads, if you want to block your ads on a specific search partner network then you must turn off all the search partner networks. But Bing Ads tells you how your ads are performing on individual search partner networks so that you can tweak your campaigns. You can find these stats by heading here: Microsoft Ads > Reports > Performance > Website URL (publisher). For instance, if you find that the conversion rate for a specific search partner is extremely low then you can exclude that network from your ad groups or campaigns. You can go here for more details.
6. Microsoft Ads Accepts PayPal
Google Ads doesn’t accept PayPal (in fact I can’t recollect any of the 271+ Google products that accepts PayPal) but Microsoft Ads accepts PayPal in select markets.
Go here to find out whether you can pay via PayPal not.
7. Creating Campaigns Is Easier
Both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads offers a feature rich advertising platform. But when it comes to platform user friendliness, it’s easier to start a campaign on Microsoft Ads than Google Ads.
Moreover, it’s much easier to drive traffic to your affiliate landing pages using Microsoft Ads than Google Ads since Google put a lot of restrictions on affiliate offers. Affiliate marketing is something that’s allowed on Bing / Microsoft Ads as long as you’re not promoting spam or illegal stuff.
8. Less Advertiser Competition
There are over 1 million advertisers on Google Ads. It means that the competition for the #1 ad spot on Google is always high compared to Microsoft Ads. So fewer advertisers must be bidding for a keyword on Bing Ads than on Google Ads and it increases the chances of getting higher ad rank — at a lower cost-per-click.
9. Set Time Zones At Campaign Level
You can choose to have your ad schedule based on the time zone of your business location or on the time zone of your customers’ location.
In Google Ads, you can set a time zone at an account level only and Google allows to change it only once. On Microsoft Ads, you can set account and campaign level time zones.
10. Ad Group & Campaign Level Settings
On Google Ads, you do have a lot of customization options at a campaign level. However, when it comes to individual ad groups you do not have much options. On the flipside, you can change language & location, default bids, demographic targeting, device targeting, ad rotations, etc. at the ad group level and it means better control over ads.
Go to Microsoft Ads > Campaigns > “Campaign Name” > Settings to control the settings of each campaign and go to Microsoft Ads > Campaigns > “Campaign Name” > “Ad Group Name” > Settings to control the settings of each ad group.
BONUS: 10 Microsoft Ads (Bing Ads) Facts You Need To Know Know
- When you advertise on Microsoft Ads (aka Bing Ads), your ad appears on the Microsoft Search Network (includes but not limited to — Bing, Yahoo, AOL).
- The Microsoft Search Network also comprises their syndicated partner websites like Facebook, Amazon, Monster, WebMD, CNBC, Viacom, etc. that you can’t reach using Google Ads.
- If you’re a Google Ads advertiser, then you can quickly import all your existing campaigns from Google Ads to Microsoft Ads.
- Bing Ads now shows up to 100,000 keywords at “Ad Group” level as well as the “Account and Campaign” level.
- If you want to edit hundreds of campaigns at once then Microsoft offers Microsoft Advertising Editor, a desktop application (for Windows and macOS). With Microsoft Advertising Editor, you can edit ads, ad groups, and hundreds of keywords at the same time even if you’re offline.
- You can make your Microsoft Ads payments using Credit Card, PayPal, Check, SEPA Direct Debit (Germany), Boleto Bancário (Brazil), and also using Debit Cards and Bank Transfer in some countries.
- You can also make your payments using Microsoft / Bing Ads Coupons since promotional codes are also considered as a type of currency.
- You can use the Ad Preview Tool to check whether your ad is appearing for a keyword on Bing. It shows whether the keyword that you have entered triggered any of your ads.
- Use Microsoft Advertising Intelligence, an add-on for Microsoft Office Excel, for more comprehensive keyword research.
- Use Bing Ads’ Search Terms Report to view all the zero-click search queries so that you can add those keywords as negative matches and improve click-through-rate (which in turn reduces advertising costs).
As you can see there are some unique advantages when you advertise on Microsoft Ads. But it doesn’t mean that you must use Bing Ads only since it’s Google who dominates the search market (right?). Now if you’re a small business owner then an Entrepreneur.com article suggests that Bing Ads offers better support to small businesses than Google. Because you have to spend $500,000/year on Google Ads to get a dedicated account representative but on Bing Ads you need to spend only $500/month (i.e. $6,000 annually).
Do you know any other feature that’s unique to Microsoft Ads or Bing Ads? If so do let me know!
Happy Advertising! :)
First Published: March 8, 2014; Last Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2021.