For a long time, Bing has been in AdWords’ shadow. The question we get from many advertisers who already run PPC campaigns on AdWords is “Why should we advertise on Bing?”  

To help answer this question, consider a few points:  

Some ways that Bing matches or edges out AdWords:

  • Bing, like AdWords, has a simple one-account philosophy for giving you access to different campaigns. In their case, it’s a Microsoft account (translation: that old hotmail account you have will work just fine.)
  • Feature-wise, Bing tries to stay at parity with AdWords. For example, the desktop Bing Ads Editor program gets updated very closely after each time AdWords updates their desktop Editor. Keeping up like this must be hard for their product team, but they do it to make their platform as frictionless as possible.  
  • Bing holds some interesting network opportunities. These include Yahoo/AOL. At the time of this writing, Microsoft has bought LinkedIn, opening the possibility for Bing ads to be served in that professional social network.
  • You can export campaigns straight from AdWords, then import the campaigns directly into Bing via the Editor tool. This is possible because their ads have most of the same features.
  • Bing puts more settings at the AdGroup level to give tighter targeting control. It won’t take someone who knows AdWords much time to get the hang of this.  
  • Bing search results show ads on the ‘right rail,’ after Google decided to discontinue them in early 2016
  • The average cost-per-click on Bing is lower than it is on AdWords ($1.07 for Bing vs $1.83 for AdWords, in one study by AdGooroo.)

Some ways Bing has less than AdWords:

  • Bing doesn’t have all the interface bells and whistles AdWords has for geotargeting (you can’t use electoral/political boundaries) and budget spending (fewer options for spreading budget throughout a day, or sharing a budget between campaigns.)
  • Bing only offers text-based ads (AOL took over Bing’s display, mobile and video ad business in June 2015). Focusing solely on search makes Bing decidedly different from AdWords, they are comfortable standing just on the performance of their search engine.  
  • Visitor tracking takes some effort, but this isn’t Bing’s fault. Google owns the #1 Analytics platform and Google advertising products benefit by seamlessly accessing that visitor information (we don’t think twice about giving them permission to track this). Stepping over to Bing instantly makes you aware how much is handled by Google’s automation). In an ironic twist, you can setup Bing tracking and conversion quickly by using Google Tag Manager.

Bing may reach more of your target audience:

  • The Bing user audience has fairly good representation in North America (14% of searches in Canada & the US), compared to Google’s continental reach of 65%. However Bing does not have much reach abroad. That’s where Google dominates.
  • The Bing user audience has fairly good representation among B2B. In fact, 87% of Bing users come from Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge, which are the default browsers on most company-issued computing devices. If we generalized, we might conclude that Bing users are less-technologically sophisticated (or choosy).
  • Bing audiences skew a bit older (the majority are 35+) than people who use Google

In conclusion, if you already use AdWords and you’re ok with setting up two of everything, Bing is a very good advertising option to look at. It’s still nowhere near the size of PPC’s dominant platform, but like Avis the rental car company used to say in the 1970s: “We’re #2. We Try Harder.” In the same way, Bing fills a useful role as a sidekick to AdWords campaigns.