Before getting any deeper into this article, it’s important to establish some branding vocabulary here. Bing Ads, associated with the Bing search engine, officially became Microsoft Advertising in 2019. However, the search engine continues to be called Bing. Therefore, Bing and Microsoft Advertising are linked in the same way that Google and Google Ads are linked.
Let’s be honest, when people think about search engines, they’re probably thinking about Google and not Bing. Just from a surface level, that makes sense. Google has been around since the ‘90s; Bing didn’t launch until 2009.
Bing’s global share of the search engine market is just 2.7%. Google currently sits at a pretty solid 91.95%, according to this article by Backlinko.
So the answer to the question “Microsoft Advertising or Google Ads?” should be pretty cut and dried, right? Yep. This is the end of the blog. Google wins.
Except, well…it’s not really that simple. Before we talk about why, let’s take a look at some of the differences between ads on the two platforms.
Microsoft Advertising vs. Google Ads — The Similarities
There are some similarities between the two search giants when it comes to PPC (pay per click). Both are designed for and driven by the same purpose: helping businesses reach their target audiences and drive traffic and conversions and, ultimately, bring in revenue.
Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads are both suited for creating ad campaigns to entice traffic at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). The ads themselves are laid out in a similar fashion on both platforms, with URLs under headlines, and descriptive ad text below the URLs.
Both services offer keyword research tools, broad match, and negative keyword targeting.
Microsoft’s Keyword Research Tool offers keyword information in “Ad groups,” and can provide data on clicks, impressions, spend, average position, average CPC (cost-per-click), and CTR (click-through-rate).
Google’s tools include their Google Keyword Planner, which is designed to help with marketing research and discovering relevant keywords. This tool provides information on average monthly searches, competition level, and both high and low ranges for top-of-page bids.
Put simply, both platforms offer tools that provide data to aid PPC ad planning.
Now, the Differences
The most glaring difference is the sheer disparity in audience reach you’re going to get with Google over Bing as search engines. However, that doesn’t mean Bing’s user base is small. We’re still talking about millions and millions of people.
Another, perhaps less obvious, difference is that Microsoft’s ads generally have a 45% higher CTR for shopping and financial services search verticals. The reasoning here is that Yahoo and MSN, both Microsoft-owned, offer financial reporting resources and ads in the search verticals and, thus, are naturally reaching an already highly interested audience.
Differences in demographics are also something to consider. More than 70% of Bing users are over 35 years old, and 33% are over 50. 38% of those users have a household income that’s more than $100,000, which means they have more spending power. Bing also accounts for 34% of all desktop searches, probably because it’s the default search engine of the default web browser on Windows-equipped PCs.
The takeaway here is that Bing users are generally a little older and have more money to spend than the typically younger demographic of Google.
Enough Small Talk, Which is Better?!
Unfortunately, we can’t really offer you closure on this one. It really depends on your needs. Using just one platform and not the other means missing out on reaching millions of people with your ads.
Given the demographic information, it’s safe to say that if you’re selling a product or financial service that’s targeted at an older audience, Microsoft Advertising might be what you’re looking for.
Then again, there’s no denying that Google simply has a much, much larger audience, so maybe you should target Google.
Ah, but Microsoft has that much higher CTR, and that’s really what you’re shooting for with PPC. But then again, is a 45% higher CTR ultimately more valuable than potentially reaching more people overall with Google’s massive audience?
Okay, look. If we’re being 100% honest, we’re going to suggest Google Ads over Microsoft Advertising 9 times out of 10. If possible, we’re going to suggest both, even. But it’s knowing how to recognize that 1 time that you should be picking Microsoft instead that’s really going to matter.
PPC strategy is tough. The more you dig into it, the more questions you have. That’s why we’re so proud of our PPC specialists here at DOM, and we’re always willing to talk about how we can put them to use for your business.
If you have questions about PPC or, really, any digital marketing concerns at all, contact us today and we’ll do a no-obligation assessment of your current marketing efforts and find out how we can help you do even better.
Also, if you’re willing to think outside the Google box and target your audience on Bing, you might also consider using DuckDuckGo. You can read our write-up of the up-and-coming search engine that’s standing out by offering users more privacy.