Are Google Adwords a better buy than Bing advertisements? Before we answer this question, it’s important to begin with an overview of each product and what differentiates them. Both platforms offer a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign structure and similar tools and key features to use to create and manage a PPC campaign. We begin by highlighting six key differences between Bing and Google Adwords.
- Ad Location – Bing Ads appear on Bing, Yahoo and their syndicated search partners. AdWords is used for advertising on Google and its partners.
- Budget Options – Bing and Google both offer users the ability to set a limit for what you want to spend on a daily basis. Each has a different minimum for budgets and bids. Bing Ads offers a monthly budget as an option.
- Ad Text – Google Adwords offers two description lines for ad copy, while Bing Ads offer one that has a longer, 71 character limit. The key with ad text is to spend time creating well-written copy that concisely and creatively shares the advertising message. There are limited character spaced available on either platform, so clarity of message is important.
- Negative Keywords – Bing Ads does not use broad match negative keywords. If you have set up broad match negative keywords in Google, those will be treated as phrase match negative keywords when importing to Bing Ads.
- Audience Targeting Options – A significant difference between platforms are the available targeting options including options like location targeting and time of day targeting.
- Ad Quality Score – The quality score of an advertisements shows the overall performance of your ads in the marketplace by measuring your keywords, click-through-rate and competitiveness in the advertising landscape. The quality scores among platforms varies significantly between Bing and Google, which shows the importance of optimizing the campaigns to fit the specific channel.
If you already have campaigns in a Google Adwords campaign, you can import them to Bing Ads, saving you the trouble of having to set them up from scratch. The campaign can then be optimized to fit the Bing platform.
Google Adwords performance vs. Bing Ads performance
In 2013, AdGooroo, a global leader in Search Marketing Intelligence released a PPC Performance Metrics study that compared advertiser participation and performance metrics on the Bing Ads platform to Google Adwords. The study reviewed 39,000 U.S. based advertisers–brands like JC Penney, QVC, and Old Navy–and evaluated performance across six verticals: shopping and classified, financial services, travel, education, computer and internet, and business.
- Results of the study confirmed what advertisers in some of the categories had been reporting and that was AdWords out-delivered Bing Ads by showing 7.3 million more ad impressions in the Shopping and Classified category.
- Bing came out ahead on the Financial Services category advertisements, likely driven by the popularity of financial reporting on Yahoo! and MSN portals.
- Adwords delivered a significant advantage in clickthrough rates (CTR) and impressions in five of the six verticals. Average clickthrough rates on AdWords campaigns were 2.4 to 5.2 times higher than those on Yahoo! Bing in all categories studied during the period.
- Bing offered better performance for paid search marketers. Cost per Click was significantly lower through Bing ranging from 10% to as high as 24%.
- SERP Brand impressions are 76-90% lower on Bing Ads.
Are Google Adwords and Bing Ads the same for small businesses?
Search marketing firm Pricing Engine released a follow up study in late 2013 that focused on hundreds of small business accounts across 11 verticals. The results confirmed that Bing Ads were a more “efficient” buy than Google Adwords for small businesses. Google offered higher volume and CTRs but Bing offered a lower cost source of leads.
One of the biggest complaints from Bing users was the difficulty of using the keyword search tool. However, Bing recently launched the Bing Ads Intelligence tool that rivals the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. The Bing tool allows you to build and expand on your keyword lists using the familiar Microsoft Office Excel interface. Based on the studies, and both platforms continuing efforts to improve, it is likely paid advertisers will eventually leverage both marketing platforms to take advantage of the differing benefits.