Google is the King of the Internet, right?
Sort of yes, sort of no.
There’s really no doubt in most people’s mind that if you put the behemoth Google into a cage match with Bing, you’d probably see a KO faster than your search results for a local coffee shop.
But what most don’t anticipate is that you can also get a sweaty, scrappy fight that goes into the fifth round with a marginal potential for an upset.
Because Bing has some fairly attractive elements that keep them competitive and may just give you an edge.
I want to share with you how Bing can actually be a valuable place to run ads for your business.
And at the very least, I’m going to provide you with a method that will let you see if Bing could be right for you.
But first, I want to disrupt some of your preconceived notions about Bing by showing you what it’s truly capable of.
Where Bing really stands out
Advertising on search engines is nothing new.
But for newcomers to digital marketing, trying to find the best places and methods to advertise can be an overwhelming experience.
And then when you consider that there’s more than one search engine available to you, that just adds to the confusion.
When you start looking into the search engine you want to advertise on, there’s no denying that Google Adwords has simply got a bigger audience.
Most people would look at a graph like this, open up Google Adwords, and never look back.
They can run profitable ads for their business, make plenty of revenue, and never have to consider an alternative.
But that graph can actually be misleading if you just take it at face value.
While its true that Google has the lion’s share of Internet search activity, graphs that show market share don’t convey the fact that millions of users still prefer a different search engine.
That’s right. I said millions.
So what that translates into is that the reality of Bing is very different than what most people imagine.
More than 133 million people search using the Bing Network.
That’s almost half the population of the United States.
And even though it might surprise you, nearly 34% of U.S. desktop searches are on Bing.
So if you’re a marketer in the United States, you may be omitting one-third of your audience by not using Bing.
What’s more, it’s been shown that more older users are on Bing:
So if your target market is above the age of 34, you could really be missing a huge amount of potential business traffic.
And if that’s not enough to turn your head, it’s also been shown that Bing users tend to make pretty good money.
The vast majority of Bing users make $40,000 or more each year.
But the most surprising fact is that more than one-third of Bing Network users make more than $100,000 each year.
That means if you’re not advertising on Bing, you could be missing out on some of the most profitable leads your business could ask for.
And since Bing Ads are displayed on three search engines instead of just one, you get a lot more reach than a simple measurement of market shares might convey.
Specifically, Bing Ads are shown on the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL search engines.
That means that collectively, the Bing network is the second best place to put your ads according to market shares.
Almost 13% of searches happen on the Bing Network, which as we’ve already seen, amounts to billions of searches each year.
And for the most part, these ads will look and operate the exact same way they do on your Adwords account.
There are really only a few minor stylistic differences here, so you won’t be faced with reinventing the wheel.
You can use the same approach that you’ve fine-tuned on your Google Adwords to see if you get good results.
But even more importantly, it could be cheaper and more profitable to run ads on Bing.
The marketing team at Spinutech actually found great success on Bing with a lower budget for one of their clients.
That’s not just lower. It’s way less than half the budget.
And while a lower budget did mean they got fewer clicks, they also had a lower overall cost-per-click when they added everything up.
More notably, the click-through rate of each Bing ad was much higher than its Google counterpart.
So they spent less money, had a lower cost-per-click, and a higher click-through rate.
Does all of that sound as good to you as it does to me?
If your business can potentially mirror these results, it’s definitely worth looking deeper into Bing Ads as an option.
And when it comes to cost-per-click, ReportGarden found that the gap can be even wider than the results Spinutech came up with:
That’s less than half the cost to run a Bing ad than an Adwords ad.
That means by using the same amount of money on Bing instead of Adwords, you could essentially double your overall ad budget.
And while I don’t recommend rushing off to throw all your ads into Bing, it should certainly raise an eyebrow.
It should especially be attractive to brands that are stuck with enormously high cost-per-click keywords on their Adwords account.
It’s a widely shared fact that insurance ads cost the most money to run at a crazily high average of almost $55 per click.
But it could actually be a little cheaper, even marginally, for those same companies to run a similar ad on Bing.
At the very least, this shows you just how different the landscape of Bing Ads can be from the Adwords world.
Depending on your individual needs, it could be worth it for your brand to make the switch to Bing.
And even if you only start creating some ads to supplement your Adwords effort, Bing Ads are worth looking into.
So for the rest of this post, I want to show you how you can find out if Bing PPC ads are worth looking into for your business.
Let’s start with a little bit of audience analysis.
Step #1: Know your audience
The ultimate factor on whether you use Bing Ads just depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.
For example, it’s a widely known fact that more people prefer Bing for image related searches.
So if your business is based on selling stock photos to other entrepreneurs, creating an ad on Bing seems like an intuitive business move.
Again, it just depends on your needs and whether your audience will actually find you there.
I recommend starting your Bing Ads evaluation process with some old fashion customer persona building.
Customer personas are the best place to start for any ad campaign because it tells you who exactly you want to target.
In the case of Bing Ads, you want to look for standout demographics like age and income, because those are the places where you’ll see the biggest impact between Bing and Google.
If you’re already using Google Adwords, this information will be readily available to you in the Demographics section under your Campaign tab.
Here’s the Age breakdown:
And then here’s a similar breakdown that shows income:
This information can help tell you how varied the age demographic of your audience actually is.
If you trend to the younger side, it may signal that Bing Ads would be a waste of time.
But if you have an older audience, you may want to keep looking further into Bing’s potential.
From there, if you know the careers, locations, and other basic pieces of information about members of your audience, you can find some helpful income information with a service like Glassdoor.
In this example, your audience member makes more than $60,000 per year on average.
That means if you’re selling to a financial analyst in the Atlanta area, there’s a good chance they could use Bing either personally or professionally.
If that’s the case, you just established sufficient reason to test out a Bing ad with two basic elements of a customer persona.
Not bad for a few minutes of research.
Step #2: Find your cost-per-click
After you’ve evaluated the potential of your audience, you also need to weigh the question of cost.
As I showed in my first point, Bing Ads have a different cost-per-click than on Adwords.
But some industries having a lower cost-per-click doesn’t mean all of them will.
So to help you find out if Bing Ads will actually be cost-effective for you, I recommend taking a few minutes to test for your industry.
And thankfully, you can do that without committing any money using the Bing Ads preview tool.
This service lets you put in your industry keyword and a few other elements to help see if Bing Ads will be cost effective for you.
You’ll even get a little preview of what your ad might look like on the Bing Network.
Once you input your information, you’ll get a helpful breakdown of the current cost-per-click on the Bing Ads Network.
You can even input an estimated budget to see how many clicks you would generate with your estimated cost-per-click.
If the estimates are similar or even less than your similar Adwords cost, that’s a sign that Bing may be a good alternative for your business.
And while these values may change over time, your approach will likely change with it.
At the very least, you can step into a Bing Ads campaign knowing that you won’t be at an immediate loss.
Step #3: Set up a Bing Ads account
Once you’ve established that your audience is on Bing and that it won’t be too expensive to run an ad, it’s time to set up your Bing Ads account.
And thankfully, it’s super easy.
All you have to do is head over to https://secure.bingads.microsoft.com/signup to get started.
You’ll see a page that looks like this:
Add your email address to get started.
You’ll then be taken to a short page that asks you to continue setting up a Microsoft account if you don’t already have one.
From here, you’ll go through the short setup procedure to verify your email address and contact info.
And once you provide all of this information, you’ll be in.
You can now start the process of creating and testing a Bing Ads campaign.
Step #4: Import your Google Adwords account
If you’re already using Google Adwords, I recommend importing the information from your Adwords account.
Thankfully, this is also a super easy process that will only take a few minutes.
It will take all of the campaigns you’re running in Adwords and create similar ones in your Bing Ads account.
And it won’t negatively impact anything you’re running on your existing Adwords account, so don’t worry about potentially messing anything up.
This just makes the setup and testing time much simpler.
Start by choosing the option to import your Google Adwords, and then sign in with your user information.
Then, go ahead and import your existing campaigns.
This may take Bing Ads a few minutes to grab everything from your Adwords account, but the wait is worth it.
This will save you the time of painstakingly setting up the same campaign on two different advertising platforms.
Step #5: Set up mirroring campaigns
If you prefer not to import your campaigns, you will have to set up both accounts manually.
If that’s the case, I still want to show you how you can do that effectively to test if Bing Ads are a good option for you.
This one takes more effort, but since you’ve got parallel ad accounts, it’s necessary to truly test whether the conversions you’re getting are worth it.
So to start with, I recommend beginning with Adwords.
Using the audience demographic information you collected in the first step, set up your campaign to make sure that you’re targeting that specific group.
Start by going to your Adwords dashboard and creating a new Campaign.
You’ll have to decide on what type of ad you’re running, as well as input goals for Google to track.
Once you’ve created your campaign and ad, make sure to add groups based on the demographics you found in your persona research for your targeting.
This will ensure that your parallel Bing Ad is being shown to the same group on both search engines and your testing will be much more accurate.
Once everything is set up, hold off on running the campaign.
You still need to set up a mirroring Bing campaign, which will take a little getting used to.
Start by going to your Bing Ads dashboard and clicking on the Create Campaign button.
Much like Adwords, you’ll have to establish the parameters of your campaign and ad group.
You’ll also need to create the ad, target it, and add the budget you want to stick to.
Once all of this is completed, you’ll want to make sure that your audience information is the same as your Adwords campaign.
To do that, go to your advanced campaign settings tab and click on the Demographics option.
Here, you’ll be able to set up whichever age group, gender, income level, or other demographic you need to.
As long as you’re keeping every element as close to Adwords as possible, you’ll be able to conduct an accurate assessment of Bing’s capabilities.
And If you do end up importing your campaigns from Adwords, it is worth noting that Bing recommends you still double check your targeting elements.
As each platform does have its unique differences, you want to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation.
To do that, you’ll just have to skip straight to the advanced settings and check that the information is correct.
Once everything is running parallel, it’s time to test.
Step #6: Check your results
Once you’ve launched your campaigns let them run for a while, you should have enough data to start making some assessments.
Thankfully, both platforms make it easy to take a step back and measure how things are going.
First of all, you should verify that your cost-per-click on each platform is accurately representing your findings from step two.
Both platforms give a fairly simple readout of this analytic.
Here’s an example from Adwords:
And here’s one from Bing Ads:
If you’re spending too much for a single click, it could be a signal that something is off with your ad’s parameters.
Or, it could mean that one platform is more cost effective than the other.
While this is a pretty basic measurement, it’s always the first place most marketers look to ensure they’re not overspending their ad budget.
Then, it’s time to check your conversion rates.
Again, Bing makes this look easy, as you can tell in the graph from above.
And Adwords does enable you to set up conversion tracking if you’ve set it up.
But unfortunately, the analytics don’t always display conversions accurately.
They often don’t accurately reflect the number of leads or amount of sales that you’ve actually generated.
Once you’ve double checked your metrics and verified your actual numbers, the process is pretty simple.
Just find out how many users completed the action you specified from each ad platform and then divide that number by how many clicks you got.
This will tell you whether you’re getting a good amount of conversions from your ads.
And then finally, take some time to make sure that you’re actually generating revenue from any of your ads.
Take your actual sales figures, find out how you made from each advertising effort, and then determine if you’ve actually made money from your advertising campaigns.
Once you’ve gathered and sifted through enough data, you’ll be in a position to decide if Bing Ads are worth continuing for your brand.
And whichever one you pick, I always recommend that you continually test and improve your conversion rate optimization techniques.
That way, you can keep capitalizing on the most successful ways of growing your business.
So are Bing Ads right for your brand?
It’s hard to say without looking at the numbers, which is why I recommend you simply go and test it out for yourself.
The Bing Network is surprisingly robust, and it can be misleading at face value.
But the millions of users that flock to Bing every year could be worth your time and money, so I absolutely recommend giving it a whirl.
Start by understanding your audience and their needs. The more you know, the better you can cater your ads to them.
Once you’ve evaluated your audience, you should also check to make sure Bing will be cost effective.
You don’t want to be too far in the red just from an experiment.
And when you’ve finally finished your homework, take the leap.
Create a Bing account and start importing or setting up your ad campaigns.
As long as you keep the parameters the same while you’re testing, you can get an accurate readout of whether Bing Ads are worth your efforts.
Just keep a close eye on those metrics, and don’t take everything you see at face value.
There are no shortcuts to knowing if Bing Ads will work for you, but it could be worth your while.
And you’ll never know if you don’t try.
How have you used Bing Ads for your business?