The key differences (as well as the pros and cons) between Bing and Google are often a topic of hot discussion among digital marketers in regard to SEM. Which platform has stronger reach, revenue generation, return on investment, and better conversions? Which is cheaper on average? Which is better at targeting leads and driving traffic?
While it’s easy to view each search engine as rivals, they work best hand-in-hand. As a business or digital marketer, you should be optimising your Pay-Per-Click advertisements for both search engines, which each have unique features and benefits that must be initially grasped. In saying that, let’s dive into the main differences between Bing and Google SEM!
Bing Ads vs. Google Ads
Bing Ads actually operate on Microsoft’s most popular three search engines – Bing, Yahoo! And AOL. This means that when you advertise on one platform, your ad is visible on all three. This substantially opens up your business’s paid ad campaign exposure, with over 5 billion monthly searches being made on the Microsoft network.
In comparison, Google Ads is made up of two advertising networks. Firstly, the Search Network enables digital marketers and businesses to create text ads that appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Secondly, the Display Network enables them to create display ads to appear on a vast number of websites across the Internet.
Both Bing and Google Ads have similar functionality – you bid on keywords based on factors like traffic volume, your ad is displayed when a user searches for a keyword, and finally, you pay a fee when a visitor clicks on your ad. Like Google, your ad copy can have a max of 80 characters, and support tools are offered to build a relevant keyword list.
Targeting, Filtering Options & Social Extensions
With Bing, you can set up device targeting filters (e.g. mobile traffic option) to set where and when your ad will be published. In comparison, Google is not as advanced or flexible with its mobile ad targeting. It also gives you the ability to choose whether you want your ad to appear solely on one platform, such as Yahoo!, while filtering out Bing and AOL. This optimises your campaign and gives you flexible marketing capabilities. It also enables you to target audiences based on their device type and OS.
Bing also enables advertisers to assign different ad campaigns to different time zones — a function that AdWords doesn’t offer. This more flexible granular control can also be seen at the ad group level – while Google allows advertisers to set their network, location, language, ad scheduling, and ad rotation settings at the campaign level, the ad groups are limited to the campaign-level settings. Bing Ads, however, allows for digital marketers to make more precise changes and targeting adjustments to the ad group level as well.
For example, with Bing Ads, you can create age filters for your search ads, meaning that they can be seen by visitors of certain age groups. You can also set up a location filter so your ads can only be visible to specific geographic audiences. This ensures that you gain higher-quality leads, which can lead to better conversion or engagement.
In addition, Bing has an innovative social extension, which is a line of copy on your ad that tells the visitor your business’s social media follower count on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On the other hand, Google Ads only shows you the number of Google+ followers.
Audience Reach, Engagement & Conversion
Google currently dominates the search engine market, currently maintaining a market share of 92.05% as of February 2021, and having a whopping 4+ billion internet users worldwide. While there’s no denying that Google has a larger audience reach, Bing is still an untapped opportunity for your business. In fact, it has over 137 million users with 6 billion monthly searches.
More interestingly, Bing’s core demographic makes it a worthy investment for all kinds of businesses. These people tend to be older than Google’s users on-average (nearly three-quarters are over 35 years old), and one-third of the Bing network have a higher disposable income of more than $100K, while half of these users had a household income of 75% or more. This substantial buying power undoubtedly leads to higher sales, conversion and click-through-rates.
Bing is also less competitive than Google Ads (making it ideal for SME businesses), while offering more conversion opportunities since users shop online 36% more than any other search engine. Since Bing users are often more interested in e-commerce, financial and shopping services, they also tend to be more engaged with sites after ad clicks. In one industry, Bing Ads had a 56% higher conversion rate than Google Ads, and a 34% higher CTR.
Cost for SEM
Since Bing Ads has less competitors bidding on keywords, there is a lower expenditure on your Bing ad campaigns. In fact, some businesses can spend 20-35% less on Bing Ads than on Google Ads. Regarding Cost-Per-Click (CPC), the average CPC for Bing was $7.99 while it was $20.08 for Google, according to ReportGarden. Furthermore, the average cost-per-click on Bing Ads can be up to 70% lower!
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Bing and Google get different traffic. Since Bing has less traffic than Google, the CPC is typically less expensive. This lower CPC could potentially mean a higher Return-On-Investment (ROI) if you can capitalise on the right keyword at the right time. In some cases though, Bing Ads can have lower traffic quality, so advertisers end up paying more for conversion compared to Google Ads.
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