For a long time, Microsoft Ads (formerly known as Bing) has been in Google Ads’ shadow. The question we get from many advertisers who already run PPC campaigns on Google Ads is “Why should we advertise on Bing?”

To help answer this question, consider a few points:  

Some ways that Microsoft Ads matches or edges out Google Ads:

  • Like Google Ads, it 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, Microsoft Ads tries to stay at parity with Google Ads. For example, the desktop Ads Editor program gets updated very closely after each time Google Ads 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.  
  • Microsoft Ads holds some interesting network opportunities, including a growing Audience Network of North American business publishers. in 2017 Microsoft bought LinkedIn, opening the possibility for ads to be served in that professional social network.LinkedIn ads
  • You can export campaigns straight from Google Ads, then import the campaigns directly into Microsoft Ads via the Editor tool. This is possible because their ads have most of the same features.
  • Microsoft Ads puts more settings at the AdGroup level to give tighter targeting control. It won’t take someone who knows Google Ads much time to get the hang of this.  
  • The average cost-per-click on Microsoft Ads is lower than it is on Google Ads ($1.07  vs $1.83 for Google Ads, in one study by AdGooroo.)
  • Since becoming a subsidiary, many LinkedIn targeting options have made their way into the Microsoft Ads platform. This gives B2B marketers extreme granularity when serving their ads, as they can target on both intent-based and audience-based attributes.

Some ways Microsoft Ads has less than Google Ads:

Bing - a credible sidekick to AdWords?

  • Microsoft Ads doesn’t have all the interface bells and whistles Google Ads has for geotargeting (you can’t use electoral/political boundaries) and budget spending (fewer options for spreading budget throughout a day)
  • Visitor tracking takes some effort, but this isn’t Microsoft Ads’ 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 Microsoft Ads instantly makes you aware how much is handled by Google’s automation). In an ironic twist, you can setup tracking and conversion quickly by using Google Tag Manager.

Microsoft Ads may reach more of your target audience:

  • The Microsoft Ads 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 Microsoft Ads does not have much reach abroad. That’s where Google dominates.
  • The user audience has fairly good representation among B2B. In fact, 87% of Microsoft Ads 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 these users are less-technologically sophisticated (or choosy).
  • Microsoft Ads 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, Microsoft Ads 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, Microsoft Ads fills a useful role as a sidekick to Google Ads campaigns.

Find out how you can use Pay-per-click (PPC) platforms to generate more leads, by clicking below.