The biggest question when it comes to choosing where to spend your advertising budget is, well, where to spend your budget. The traditional answer is to throw all your money at Google and wait for the results to come in. But there is another player in the search engine field: Bing. So the real question is, “Are Bing ads worth it?” According to a few different case studies, the answer is yes — sort of.
The Lure of Pay-per-Click
For the uninitiated, Bing Ads work exactly like Google AdWords ads, meaning they’re pay-per-click (PPC) ads that appear alongside search results. If you’re new to this kind of ad, let’s be clear: PPC may not be a license to print money, but it’s pretty close.
PPC search ads have everything going for them:
- Your ads appear only in searches for keywords you choose.
- You set a maximum budget (total ad spend) and a maximum bid (price per click). Your ad runs on your terms.
- You only pay for an ad when it’s clicked on. If it shows in the results and gets no clicks, you pay nothing.
Those three points should tell you pretty clearly why AdWords (and Bing Ads) has so much allure to marketers. Assuming you have a good landing page and a decent product, it’s hard not to make money. You only pay when a customer walks in the door, so to speak, and the rest is up to your sales page.
But given that Google has so much more traffic than Bing, why not just run AdWords and call it a day? Does advertising on Bing work?
The Bing Ads Case
There are more than a few reasons to jump on the Bing wagon. These include:
1. Growing market share. Bing is often cited as having only 8 percent of the search market. That’s true globally, but in the US it’s closer to 33 percent—a respectable pool of customers to reach.
2. Higher CTR. It turns out that not all PPC platforms perform equally. Bing ads actually get higher click-through rate (CTR) than Google, probably because of better ad placement.
3. Better return on investment. Across a wide sample of categories, the average “bid” price (cost per click) of Bing is 42 percent less than Google. But Bing ads still enjoy good conversion rates. This translates to a higher return on investment.
4. Less competition. If you consider AdWords the Holy Grail of search marketing, you’re not the only one. That space is crowded, and your audience will see your competition’s ads either before or after they see yours. Fewer advertisers use Bing, so you can more easily dominate this platform.
To these points, we would add that using Bing simply makes sense in terms of reach. Most people use either Google or Bing, not both, and certainly not at the same time — nobody “comparison shops” their search results. So even if Bing did hold a mere 8 percent of search share, that’s 8 percent you’re not reaching on AdWords. Why not take it for pennies on the dollar?
At present, Google AdWords is still the most important paid search marketing platform. If you’re just starting out, focus your efforts there first. But as soon as you feel confident in your campaign-building abilities, make the jump to Bing Ads as well.
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