Paid Search (PPC)

With Google’s almost complete dominance of search and paid advertising channels, it’s easy to overlook Bing altogether. If you are already running paid search campaigns using Google AdWords, why would you even consider using BingAds? Surely you’ve got all the traffic you need?

Well, there are a number good reasons to begin using BingAds. But before you start spending money with Bing, it’s important to consider the following:

1. The Cost of Advertising on BingAds Is Often Lower

The general consensus is that the price per click on BingAds for non branded keywords is lower than on Google Adwords. How much lower depends on the industry you are in, and the campaign types used. For example, the price will vary depending on whether you are using product listing ads, or advertising on the content network. It is also worth considering that Google’s price per click (CPC) prices increased by 7% on average in Q4 2014, compared to an increase of 5% for BingAds.

A lower cost per click can lead to a lower cost per conversion and an overall better return on investment.

2. BingAds Has a Much Lower Market Share than AdWords

According to StatCounter, Google had a 89.41% share of UK search in February 2015, compared to Bing’s share of just 5.7%, and Yahoo’s share of 4.03%. BingAds display on the Yahoo network as well as on Bing.

US Paid search market share - Google and Bing

Graph showing US Paid search engine spend over time for Google AdWords and BingAds – Source IgnitionOne

Whilst you will get lower levels of traffic from Bing advertising, the good news is that the level of competition is also lower, simply because fewer businesses are using it.

3. BingAds Broad Match Keywords Are Much Broader than on Google AdWords

There are different types of keyword match types used in paid search. Broad match keywords can show you adverts for a wider number of terms compared to phrase match – in which words either side of your phrase will trigger your ads – or exact match keywords – in which your advert will trigger only when the exact phrase is used. The main problem with BingAds is that they are much more reliant on broad match keywords than Google.

You need to pay attention to this, because your broad match keywords may trigger for phrases that are not even closely related to the keywords you are bidding on. In 2014 and 2015, Bing made their broad match keywords even broader. If we look at the Bing and Google’s definitions of broad match, on the face of it they seem quite similar.

Here’s Google’s own explanation of AdWords broad match:

Broad match lets a keyword trigger your ad to show whenever someone searches for that phrase, similar phrases, singular or plural forms, misspellings, synonyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), related searches, and other relevant variations.

Compare this Bing’s description of broad match keywords:

Any word in your keyword, in any order, including words closely related to your keyword, must be in the search query or other input. Example: if your keyword is red flower, searches for red flower, flower is red, and buy crimson flower will trigger your ad

Bing’s definition of broad match is so general that I would recommend relying solely on modified broad match keywords or negative keywords, whilst paying close attention to the matched search terms triggering your ads.

4. The BingAds User Interface Is Very Similar to Google AdWords

Over the last 12 months, Bing has made a lot of improvements to their advertising platform. It is fair to say that they have been ‘influenced’ by Google, as both the layout of the online interface for BindAds and BingAds editor are visually and structurally the same as Google AdWords and Google AdWords Editor:

Bing advertising interface is similar to Google AdWords

BingAds campaign screen for the online interface

Bing uses similar features and menu headings to AdWords. This makes managing accounts easier if you already have existing AdWords experience:

Example of what Google AdWords looks like

Google AdWords campaign screen example

5. BingAds Customer Service Isn’t as Good as Google’s

Bing Ads Broad Match customer service problems

I recently asked BingAds customer support team to look into a problem. One keyword within an account triggered a significant number of clicks for phrases that were not even close to the keyword within the campaign. After emailing and calling Bing for eight days, I finally received the following email:

Good afternoon Peter,

I trust this email finds you well. 

I have just received a confirmation from the Bing technical team and they confirmed that the reason for the spike in traffic was down to the content network for Mobile Apps.

Microsoft Bing has increased in market share and new devices are now set as default so a dramatic increase in traffic was related to Mobile Apps.

The technical team confirmed that they can provide you a 50% refund for any content spend in the last 45 days.

Before we can provide you with the refund, you will need to switch off content network on your campaigns.

I was confused by this email, as the problem campaigns were not set to display on mobile apps, or on third party sites on the content network.

Five minutes after receiving this message, I received the following message from Bing:

Good afternoon Pete,

Thank you for the email, I really appreciate it.

The Bing system seems to have sent you the wrong email which was sent for another advertiser, we sincerely apologise for any inconveniences caused.

In regards to your case, the Bing technical engineers are still looking into the case, the reason for the delay into investigation that they are trying to pin point the precise reason why the broad term has been triggering other terms that have no association with the original keyword on the campaign.

I am continually monitoring the case on a daily basis and I have put pressure on the department and advised them to provide us with a rapid resolution.

I was not impressed with this response, and I am still waiting for a reply regarding a refund for the clicks that they have admitted have no association with the original keyword on the campaign.

The customer service representative I spoke to at BingAds admitted that response times have gone from 3 to 4 days up to 10-12 days because lots of people are experiencing problems like mine.

Conclusion

According to a recent RKG Digital Marketing report, during Q4 2014, BingAds paid search spend increased by 31% year-over-year. In the same period, Google paid search spend increased by just 19%. This increase may have been caused by a number of changes that have been made to where and how ads are displayed. Bing Adverts now display on more third party sites, devices, and Apps than ever before, and many of these budget spending settings are enabled by default.

Bing has also changed how broad match keywords work, meaning that adverts are now showing for a wider number of terms than they were before. As a result, the amount spent by advertisers on Bing has increased substantially over recent months.

Based on my own recent experience with a broad match keyword issue, I’m not impressed with Bing’s customer service. They do not seem as responsive as Google, and they’re not quite as quick to resolve problems

Whilst I can recommend using BingAds, performance in some areas is not up to the same standard as AdWords. The main advantages are the lower cost per click, the lower cost per conversion, and the ease with which you can import AdWords campaigns into Bing.

I’d be interested to hear more about your experiences with BingAds. If you are having problems, or if you’d like us to manage a BingAds campaign for your business, why not get in touchor comment below?

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