Bing PPC is a paid marketing channel thousands of businesses overlook. Microsoft’s answer to Google Ads, Bing is commonly dismissed because it’s overall search traffic pales in comparison to the “Big G.”
This means a major chunk of businesses ignore Bing PPC campaigns entirely, missing out on billions of users who prefer to search on the platform.
Yep, you read that correctly. Billions. In fact, Microsoft says Bing now holds a 33% share of the American search engine market. That’s about 5 billion searches monthly just in the US (which is growing).
As the stats will soon back up, there’s plenty of evidence to show that Bing Ads cost a lot less than their rival at Google, with similar conversion results.
It’s not all roses though. Google still has a stronghold on search engine market share, especially on mobile users. Completely ditching your Google Ads campaigns and moving them to Bing isn’t something we would advise you do.
Let’s dig into the background of Bing, if it’s got scratch on Google and how you can get your own Bing PPC campaigns off the ground.
What is Bing PPC?
Microsoft launched Bing in 2009 as a way to claw into the search engine industry. It has since grown into a platform that more than 12 billion people use every month worldwide.
Critics of Bing say the platform only gets used because it’s the default search engine for new Microsoft devices.
If so, that’s a lot of people who can’t be bothered changing their default browser settings. But one fact critics can’t ignore is that Bing Ads reach 66 million users that Google doesn’t have access to.
That’s a massive chunk of people you’re missing out on if you are one of the businesses sweeping Bing under the rug. Here are a few other reasons you should consider using Bing Ads:
Advertising on Bing Gives You Access to the Bing Network
Bing is owned by Microsoft, so it should come as no surprise that there are some seriously sweet perks if you decide to use it.
One of the big ones is your PPC campaigns will have access to the “Bing Network”—Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. Yep, Microsoft owns all three, so you can place your ads across them all.
Using the advanced settings in Bing, you can select which search networks to target, allowing you flexibility when testing on a small scale:
If you want to expand later and advertise on some of the platform’s partners, you can add them in as you need and drop them immediately if they aren’t performing.
A massive bonus of the Bing Network is that it gives you total transparency to who those partners are:
Bing’s partners are all listed in a directory, which is something you don’t get easily from Google.
That means if you’ve enabled Google’s partners in your Ads (AdWords) campaign, not only will you never know exactly who those partners are—but you can’t fire them if they aren’t converting for you. A serious flaw that can cost you in the long run.
Gen X Hangs Out on Bing (Along With Other Core Demographics)
Bing has some interesting core demographics. Many of its users are upwards of 35 years old, married and earn a fair income.
This means that, while Google dominates much of the younger demographics, you should certainly consider targeting Bing’s core group of users:
What’s good about a lot of Gen X users hanging out on Bing is that they become a cost-effective demographic if they fit in with your target market.
Think of it this way: because of Bing’s reach (and their partners), they claim that their users spend 32% more on online shopping than other search engines. Their research also claims that 17% of their network has graduated from graduate school, which is a very helpful statistic if it falls into line with your core audience.
Bing vs Google: An Impartial Comparison
If you’re running campaigns on Google Ads but not on Bing, here are some points to consider before doing both:
It’s Kind of Like David vs. Goliath
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Google is still ridiculously more popular than any other search engine in the world.
Comparing Bing to Google is a bit like comparing David to Goliath; they aren’t really in the same playing field. There’s no getting around the fact that you just won’t get the amount of traffic for your ads on Bing that you do on Google.
Google also owns other huge platforms like Maps and YouTube, so you’ll miss out on these channels by focusing on Bing PPC alone. This does limit the platform significantly. By not having access to just YouTube, for example, you’ll miss out on the 1.8 billion people that log in every month.
Google Captures the Majority of Mobile Ads
Since October 2016, users worldwide have favoured their mobiles over their laptops when using search engines. In fact, according to a recent Google Study, nearly 75% of all search engine queries are made from a mobile.
The problem for Bing is Google literally owns the internet when it comes to mobile searches:
Over the last year, nearly 95% of the entire population chose Google when they searched for something on their mobile. Bing failed to capture any of it.
That is a serious downfall for anyone advertising on Bing, as the same Google study found nearly 93% of people who used their mobiles to do research ended up making a purchase. Meaning the only ads the majority of mobile users would see were the ones shown on Google. Ouch.
Is Bing Worth it?
Despite its downfalls, here’s the big question: is Bing worth it?
In our opinion, the answer is yes. Here are a few reasons why you should seriously consider allocating some of your PPC budget towards Bing.
A Cheaper Average CPC
Millions of people use Google as their source for PPC campaigning. As a result, it’s overcrowded, saturated and (most importantly) expensive.
The only way you can get to the top of Google quickly is by having more money to be able to place higher bids. A high Quality Score helps, but this takes time and experimentation to build.
On Bing, you don’t have the same problems. Significantly fewer companies advertising on the platform, which is reflected in the average cost-per-click between the two platforms:
Marketing agency Spinutech tested Bing Ads against Google Ads and found they got the same results with Bing with just half the budget spend.
Not only did each campaign have a significantly higher click-through rate on Bing compared to Google, but the average CPC was also lower for each campaign. As an added bonus, Bing Ads were often in better positions than those on Google as well.
Bing Provides More Control Over Your Campaigns
One of the main draws of Bing is how much control the platform gives you over who, how and when your ad will reach its audience.
This is extremely helpful when you’ve narrowed down your target audience, and you only want to spend money on them:
Bing targeting lets you market your ads towards gender, age brackets and even time zones. There’s also an option to choose what language your audience speaks for different ad groups. Google is a lot more restrictive when it comes to changing up any of these targeting options.
How to Create High-Performing Bing Campaigns
A massive benefit to starting a PPC campaign on Bing is the fact that it’s so damn simple. Before you commit, there’s a preview function that allows you to get a taste of how effective your campaigns could be on the platform:
All you have to do is select:
- What you are advertising
- Your industry
- Your overall advertising goal
And you’ll get a quick snapshot that looks like this:
It’s a cool way to find out, even on a very simple level, how some of your chosen keywords will perform.
Setting Up Your Bing PPC Campaign
If you’ve decided to take a chance on setting up your own Bing PPC campaign, know this: it’s crazy easy to set up.
Step1: head here and create an account. Use a Microsoft email address if you have one. Next, select ‘Create a new campaign’ and give it a name. Here you’ll start to get options to really target your audience.
Once you’ve set up your first campaign, you can start to research target keywords. Click Tools > Keyword Planner:
Bing’s Keyword Planner is simple to use and can even pull suggestions from your website or a broad product topic:
From here, you can start to get a feel for what keywords will work on Bing and how much you can expect to pay for them:
Bonus tip: Check out our guide on how to get started with keyword research. Although it’s based on Google Ads, the same ideas and strategies apply to Bing.
Even if you’re doing the majority of your keyword research on Bing and using their data to make bidding decisions, it’s worth using other sources to find more keyword gold.
A problem you’ll find is many alternative keyword tools like Ahrefs or Moz still focus on how successful your keyword will be on Google. This means you’ll have to find a planner that lets you focus solely on Bing.
KParser has built a useful keyword planning tool that allows you to search for competitive keywords just on Bing:
The tool will also let you narrow down the keywords into geographic locations and languages. This feature can help you nail your keyword placement, as Bing also allows you to set up the same targeting options in your ad campaigns.
Although the tool means signing up to a $29/month plan, it could pay for itself if you are able to uncover low-competition keywords with high click-through rates.
SEMRush also has a built-in feature to only target Bing keywords:
This is great to find out if your competitors are bidding on Bing. Use SEMRush to find their profitable ads, what keywords they’re using then and outbid them. Simple.
Or, Just Import Your Google Ads Campaign on Bing
We’ve saved the best ‘til last. Bing has an amazing feature that lets you literally copy your Google Ads campaign straight into the platform.
This means all that hard work you’ve put into Google Ads can be imported into your Bing campaign to be used almost immediately.
Once you import your campaigns, make sure to check any parameters or bids you’ve got set up to be sure they’ve transferred across correctly.
To do this, click on the ‘Advanced’ tab in your Ad Campaign to make sure everything is set up as you need it to be.
How to Totally Crush SEM Using Bing
The best thing about Bing is the amount of control it gives you on your PPC campaign. The structure and process works much like you would set up a Google Ads campaign.
Here, we’ll cover the elements you should be paying attention to when creating your Bing Ads:
Nail Your Audience Targeting
The level of audience targeting you have with Bing Ads is a game-changer. For example, you may have found that 35 to 45-year-old males living in a certain time zone in the US are your biggest buyers:
Only Bid At Certain Times of The Day
When you think about it, this tool makes total sense. The platform lets you bid more on specific days of the week and less on others. In fact, if you want to completely hide your ads on a Monday, you can.
How will this help you crush your Bing PPC campaign? Let’s say you’re a SaaS company who mainly gets traffic from Monday afternoon through Friday afternoon. In fact, using your web analytics, you can even narrow down most of your web traffic to a Tuesday or Wednesday.
It makes sense that you should dial up your ad spend when your prospects are interested, right?
If you know your target market doesn’t work on the weekend, it makes sense to allocate that ad spend to a time where they’ll be actively seeking out a product in your market.
Adjust Cost by Device
Two years ago, Bing introduced a setting called device targeting. This lets you decide just how much you want to spend on searches depending if they’re coming from a mobile, tablet or laptop. If after a few months you find that your ads are converting on mobile but not on desktops and tablets, you can target just mobile instead:
This feature is perfect if you are optimizing ads purely for mobile devices. Bing says about 70% of its searches come from mobile devices and, surprisingly, iOS users:
Build In a Sense of Urgency
A recently added feature to Bing, you can now build in urgency to your PPC campaigns through countdown timers:
For example, if you’ve got a sale on a product, or if you’re hosting a webinar, you can use this feature to show people how much time they have left to take advantage.
In your Bing Ads account, click ‘Ads’ and then ‘Create Ad’, then select what ad group the ad will appear in. Here’s some technical guidance directly from Bing:
Make sure that your ad is set to the right timezone and language. Otherwise you risk being out of sync with your target audience.
Use Both Google + Bing Ads, And Split Your Budget
You might be thinking, why doesn’t everyone use Bing for PPC campaigns?
We aren’t sure, but if the latest statistics are anything to go by, more people are making the move to Bing as their preferred search engine. Lower CPC and conversion rates are mouth-wateringly affordable over at Bing, and their insane levels of targeting can make optimizing your campaigns worthwhile.
Diversifying your PPC market spend across Google and Bing could be something for your business to consider. Having a 90/10 split across the two platforms for a couple of months could be a good way to see if Bing is a PPC avenue your business can’t afford to ignore.
And if it doesn’t work out, you can always put all your ad spend back into “Big G’s” basket.
Feature Image: Unsplash / Tadas Sar
Image 1: via Google & Bing
Image 2: via Statista
Image 3: via Bing Ads on Twitter
Image 4: via Neil Patel
Image 5, 6: via Bing Ads
Image 7: via Lifehacker
Image 8: via Stat Counter
Image 9: via Report Garden
Image 10: via Spinutech
Image 11-16, 19, 22: screenshot via Bing Ads platform
Image 17: via KParser
Image 18: via SEMRush
Image 20: via Bing Ads training
Image 21: via Wordstream
Image 23: via Bing Ads mobile
Image 24, 26: Bing Ads help