An effective search strategy is a cornerstone of any strong marketing campaign. When it comes to search, there are two large players: Google and Bing.
Both offer unique benefits and features to help brands reach their online advertising goals. In this blog, we explore advertising options on Google and Bing to help you decide which platform may suit your advertising needs.
Google (Alphabet) and Bing (Microsoft) are search engines that enable brands looking to reach high-intent shoppers who are looking for information online.
As platforms, they seem fairly similar. When users enter a query, they’re met with sponsored results that contain images, headers, and descriptions but can also be text ads.
But, when you look closer, you will start to see differences in terms of benefits and challenges of each.
Google Ads are a popular choice for many marketers thanks to its unrivaled audience size, conversion rates, and range of networks.
Google benefits from its massive user base. Google has 270 million unique visitors from the United States alone, with a search engine market share of 61.4%. It’s the most visited website in the United States.
Conversion rates for search tend to be fairly low, which is understandable when you consider audience size. When it comes to conversion rates, Google has an advantage over Bing. Google averages a conversion rate of 3.17%, while Bing averages around 2.94%.
While those are close numbers, the tenths of degrees can add up to a large amount of sales revenue.
One caveat here is that Bing’s click-through rates are slightly higher when it comes to finance-related topics because of their audience profile — more on that later.
As the clear leader in search, Google has had a lot of time to build a sophisticated ads platform. One way that comes to life is with their Display and Search options.
While many other competitors (including Bing) do not differentiate between these tools, Google actually built separate platforms for them that rely on different networks.
Google’s Search network helps brands improve their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). On the other hand, Google’s Display network helps them reach display advertising spots across the entire internet, reaching 90% of users.
Both networks are designed with metrics like reach and impressions in mind.
No platform is without flaws, and there are some challenges to working with Google Ads.
As the most visible name in search, Google has dealt with plenty of legal hurdles from private individuals and government bodies. As a result, the Google Ads space is highly regulated.
Many novice marketers have experienced rejection with their ads. Navigating Google and understanding what is and isn’t acceptable on the platform is now a full-time job — for whole teams.
This is one reason, out of many, that brands should consider working with a Google Premier Partner like MuteSix, which is well-versed in regulation and best practices.
Because Google’s user base is so large, many advertisers choose to advertise there. Google relies on a bidding system to determine which ads appear first, so the competition can be steep.
Brands have to be willing to spend more money or constantly seek out high-value search terms, which is extremely time-consuming and costly.
Now, to be clear, these challenges aren’t reasons to avoid Google Ads.
These are reasons to partner with an industry-leading Google Ads agency like MuteSix, which is able to tap in a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure brands are not only scaling across Google Ads, but scaling profitably.
While Google has many advantages, Bing Ads has a few as well. One point worth noting is that Microsoft Advertising owns Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL, so when brands open a Bing Ads account, they can reach audiences from all three partner sites.
Additionally, Bing Ads can help brands reach untapped audiences, it’s less expensive and more precise in terms of targeting.
Google owns over 60% of the search audience, while Bing owns just under 10% of the search audience and 8.85% of the PC market share.
Bing users tend to be older and higher income, which is a big opportunity for certain brands. While Google may have the size, Bing has the spending power.
Relatedly, because there’s less competition, there’s an opportunity to have a large impact on an audience that has been relatively untapped. Marketers are often looking for white space and undervalued ad platforms, and Bing certainly qualifies.
On that note, Microsoft ads are not only less competitive, but they’re also less costly. The average cost-per-click (CPC) is 70% lower on Bing than on Google. That’s not a negligible percentage. If you’re a brand with a limited search budget, Bing could represent a smarter value.
On both ads platforms, brands can target relevant customers by keywords, including positive and negative keywords.
On Bing, brands can add more granularity to their audiences. They can bid based on demographics, social media profiles, location, time, gender, age, and device.
Brands can also create different rules for different ad groups, allowing for more flexibility and versatility in the campaign itself.
Now, let’s discuss some of the limitations and challenges related to Bing ads, such as a smaller audience size and less sophisticated campaigns.
Advertisers targeting a larger audience may find their reach is more limited on Bing than on Google. This can be especially challenging for brands with a broader target audience, as they may need help reaching as many potential customers through Bing advertising as they could through Google.
Google has more sophisticated ad campaigns, especially with their distinct display and search networks. Google’s e-commerce Shopping campaigns are particularly state-of-the-art, so Bing can seem like the lesser choice for advertisers looking to create more complex and visually-appealing ad campaigns.
However, it’s worth noting that Bing is continually expanding and improving its ad offerings.
Compared to Google, which offers advertisers a large and comprehensive support network, Bing’s support options can be more limited. For advertisers, getting the help they need when setting up and managing campaigns or dealing with technical issues is important.
Both Google and Bing offer PPC ad placements and paid search ads that differ from organic search engine optimization (SEO). PPC ads are sold on a pay-per-click basis, so advertisers effectively only pay when the ads work and inspire a conversion to a landing page.
Some ad campaigns are operated on a flat PPC rate, meaning the advertiser will pay the same amount for every click they earn. A bidding system is more common, in which advertisers designate the amount of money they’re willing to pay for a certain ad spot and bid on an auction every time a user enters a search query.
This system is automated, and there are opportunities to use strategy to reduce the cost of clicks and maximize reach and efficacy.
Diversifying your online marketing mix will help ensure that you reach as many shoppers as possible.
However, operating search campaigns across multiple platforms can be difficult. That’s why before you decide which platform to leverage, decide which Paid Search agency to help you succeed there.
A Google Premier Partner, MuteSix’s Paid Search team focuses on brand growth, formulating winning strategies that enhance success across other paid media channels, and capitalize on all Google levers in order to reach the largest, most relevant audiences.
As your search partner, we conduct extensive keyword research and A/B testing of ad copy, and we optimize budget and/or bidding strategies for maximum profit.
Our Paid Search team benefits from fluid communication across all channels, fueling a feedback loop of important insights about audiences, creative, products, and keywords so as to maximize profitability across the board.
With new ad types, regulations, and capabilities announced all the time, we stay ahead of the curve, helping brands beat these search systems’ algorithms for unparalleled success.
Both Google AdWords and Microsoft Advertising have their own unique strengths and limitations when it comes to digital marketing. Google AdWords has a larger search volume and a wider range of ad campaign options but also tends to have higher average CPCs.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Advertising has a smaller audience size and less sophisticated ad campaign options while offering lower average CPCs and more granular targeting opportunities.
Ultimately, the correct advertising platform for your brand will depend on your marketing goals, target audience, and budget. By considering factors such as search volume, average CPC, and available ad campaign options, you can make an informed decision about which platform will help you achieve your advertising objectives.
Ready to make your brand stand out in search? Reach out today for a marketing consultation to see if your brand qualifies for a free omnichannel audit.
Google – Statistics & Facts | Statista
What’s A Good Google Ads CTR/CPC/CPA In 2022? [STUDY] | Search Engine Journal
Global search engine desktop market share 2023 | Statista