Why Microsoft Advertising deserves a place in your paid advertising strategy – and how it compares to Google Ads.
Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing) doesn’t get as much attention as Google Ads in the digital advertising space. Obviously, it makes sense to maximise your search presence on the top platform but Bing remains the second-biggest search engine in the UK, handling more than a fifth of all searches.
The fact is, you can’t maximise your search presence without Microsoft Advertising and there are plenty of other reasons to advertise on the network. In this article, we explain why your search marketing strategy should have a space reserved for Microsoft Advertising.
Microsoft Advertising is an advertising platform that delivers paid listings among search results across the Microsoft Search Network. Previously known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising is the rebranded search advertising network that provides the closest alternative to Google Ads with the second-biggest market share in the UK – second only to Google itself.
If you have any experience advertising on Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising is the same kind of system. You pay to show ads in search results by bidding on keywords with almost identical targeting settings, ad formats and display network campaigns.
The key difference is, Microsoft Advertising builds your search presence on a platform used by more than 19 million PC users in the UK alone and 719 million globally, most of whom don’t use Google. That amounts to a 20+% share of the UK’s search market share, significantly above the ~15% global average.
Whichever way you segment the data, Microsoft Ads connects you with a large, exclusive user base that no business can afford to ignore.
Microsoft Advertising powers ads across three search engines: Bing, AOL and Yahoo! – as well as any partner sites that syndicate results from Bing (you can find all the details you need in the “ad placement” section of this documentation page).
You can create the following ad types in Microsoft Advertising:
You can use a combination of targeting settings in Microsoft Advertising to control who sees your ads across placements. You can use location targeting to include or exclude locations, ad scheduling to control the times your ads are eligible to show, device targeting to segment mobile, tablet and desktop users, and age and gender targeting to narrow in on your preferred audience.
Microsoft Advertising is still commonly referred to as Bing Ads and you’ll often see comparison articles with things like “Bing Ads vs Google Ads” in the title.
This makes it a little tricky to know whether such articles are up to date. Keep in mind that a lot of people are still using search terms that include “Bing Ads” – just as it took time for people to adopt the same Google Ads after the big AdWords rebranding.
Either way, both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising have their pros and cons.
There’s no clear cut answer to Microsoft Advertising or Google Ads being better than the other. They have different strengths but the most important thing is that they have different user bases that typically use one or the other – not both.
So the most important factor here is maximising your search presence, which you can only do by advertising on both platforms. From here, you can optimise campaigns to maximise the benefits of both – for example, you might use Microsoft Ads to maximise traffic (higher CTRs and lower CPCs) or target business decision-makers and Google Ads for maximising ROI.
Also, keep in mind that these pros and cons are all very generalistic and, in many cases, we’re talking about fine margins. You can get great results from both platforms; they simply have their own strengths and weaknesses.
As with any PPC platform, the cost of your strategy depends on your goals and how much you invest in the system. For the sake of comparison, data from WordStream shows that the average CPC in Microsoft Advertising is £1.12 across all industries, which would make the average click 42.5% cheaper on Microsoft Advertising.
*Financial figures converted from $USD at the time of writing
However, if you compare cost-per-action (CPA), the difference is significantly smaller with the average conversion being 15.3% less expensive on Microsoft Advertising. A lot of this comes down to the higher conversion rates Google Ads tends to achieve, as we explored earlier.
For more information on how this compares with the cost of Google Ads, you can take a look at this article:
While it’s useful to look at metrics like CPA and conversion rates as a measure of expense (CPCs are actually very misleading), focusing on ad spend is counterproductive in PPC advertising. Whatever your budget may be, the goal is to maximise your return, which normally means generating as much revenue as possible from your spend.
If you take the mindset of spending as little as possible, you limit your returns and business growth falls short of its full potential.
With a 20+% share of the UK search market, Bing has a user base no business can afford to ignore. The colossal numbers Google boasts can leave you thinking that you should pump all of your resources into the world’s leading search engine and forget about Microsoft Advertising.
That’s 19 million PC users alone that you’re cutting off from your business by not running ads on Microsoft’s network.
If you’re advertising on Google Ads, it only makes sense to run ads on Microsoft Advertising as well – it’s the only way to maximise your search presence. With the Google Import feature, you can simply import your Google Ads campaigns into Microsoft Advertising to cut out any duplicate work (although we recommend that you develop and optimise your Microsoft Advertising strategy independently).
The real question is, can you afford to not advertise on Microsoft?
Find out more about our Microsoft Ads services or if you’d like to speak to one of our PPC specialists, contact us on 02392 830281 or submit your details here.
Mike is a senior PPC specialist at Vertical Leap and has worked in digital marketing since 2016. He specialises in eCommerce PPC, increasing ROAS and growing revenue particularly through Google Shopping & Facebook Ads. Outside of work he enjoys all things sport, particularly football, tennis, skiing and paddle boarding. He also loves dogs, particularly labs and golden retrievers.
Categories: PPC, SEO
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