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Arianne Donoghue

Bing Ads vs Google AdWords: Why Bing Ads Deserve A 2nd Look

11th Sep 2013 Paid Search, Bing AdCenter, Paid Search 4 minutes to read

Bing Ads LogoBing Ads are often forgotten about in favour of Google AdWords, which is why Arianne Donoghue writes for us today to explain the unique benefits of the channel and why it’s more than just a smaller alternative to AdWords.

Bing Ads. It’s been on a long journey since its beta launch in late 2005, including two name changes. But why should you care, since at the last count it makes up barely 6% of the UK search market?

You might be saying to yourself, “But Arianne, I know all about Bing Ads and I use them every day!” then give yourself a pat on the back and please add your own tips and advice in the comments. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with Bing Ads and its offering, or if you haven’t really had a play with it in a while, hopefully this post will encourage you to give it another look.

Microsoft is putting a lot of investment into the platform both from an advertiser’s perspective in developing the interface and tools available and from that of the consumer, integrating Bing into Windows 8, Xbox, phones, tablets and more.

Search Alliance

Thanks to the Yahoo! Bing Alliance their reach in the US is around 30% and in the UK it is gaining momentum, while Google begins to see its market share slowly decline.


The biggest difference between Google and Bing is Bing’s focus on transparency and giving the advertiser as much choice as possible. They’ve understood that this is an area in which they can really differentiate themselves from Google.

While Google has been seen to remove flexibility from advertisers with the onset of Enhanced Campaigns, Bing continue to provide full device targeting options at campaign and ad group level. While doing this they are working on new functionality that will allow you to easily import your Enhanced Campaigns over to Bing – a process that is already very simple for Legacy campaigns using their Desktop Editor.

A frequently documented bone of contention with advertisers on Adwords is the inability to understand Search Partner activity in detail. You can either opt in to it, or out of it, with no option to optimise up/down individual partners according to results. Bing gives you visibility and the option to exclude specific partners to try and improve performance.

Quality Score

We all know how important QS is to account performance and Bing provides this at a keyword, ad group and campaign level. They’re also very open about what influences the score, so if you score a 5, you’re potentially more able to improve that score than you may be on Google.

Bing Quality Score

In addition, Bing rolled out a new feature last year called Quality Impact. This helps quantify the benefit of improving Quality Score on a given keyword. Each relevant keyword (with a QS less than 6) will be assigned a value from 1-3 based on the estimated extra impressions available per day if the QS becomes 6 or higher. This can be a great way to prioritise your efforts if you’re pressed for time or looking for quick wins.

Greater Reach

Bing estimate that there are 20.5 million unique searchers in the UK that can only be reached through them (comScore qSearch (custom), March 2013).  It is also estimated that Yahoo! Bing Network users spend more than Google users and are also more likely to convert (comScore qSearch (custom), March 2013– good news for those of us who work in any B2C industries. It’s also good news for anyone wishing to avoid an all eggs-in-one-basket scenario and diversify their search efforts.

Support for Advertisers

Personally, I’ve found Bing’s self-service support via phone/email to be better than Google’s. You may be more likely to find this as a small advertiser. It’s easier to speak to a support person should you so wish and the help received has less of a “salesy” feel to it. I also feel the response times are better.

ads forum

There’s the Bing Ads Suggestion Forum, where advertisers can suggest new features and vote up the ones which matter to them. Lots of recent enhancements have been influenced by this forum and it’s something that Bing say helps them prioritise development efforts.

There’s also dozens of other differentiating features to Bing, including the Bing Ads Intelligence tool, the ability to set lots of unique targeting options at ad group level and nice additions like the Negative Keyword Conflict Report to name but a few.

Of course, Bing Ads isn’t perfect. Some of the reporting is clunky and it’s still not as easy to manage large accounts at scale in the same way that you can with Adwords. Of course there is also that issue of traffic! Hopefully over time these and other issues will all improve, if Bing stays as good at responding to user feedback and investing in the platform as it seems to be at the moment.

What’s stopping you using Bing Ads? Or do you use it and have a favourite feature you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!

The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.

Image Sources

Bing Quality Score via Bing Ads Community
Make Bing Ads Editor Mac Compatible via Bing Ads Suggestion forum

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1 Comment

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    Conor Maurice

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