Because Microsoft’s search engine–and perennial distant second to Google in every way–could be a low cost alternative for a local business on a tight ad budget, or a budget-extender for a bigger advertiser, in a mix with buys on Google’s AdWords program. That’s why.
What is Bing?
A smaller search network, with some impressive pieces.
Bing powers the search on Microsoft properties like MSN.com and Bing.com and is also the search engine for Yahoo! and AOL. It is built in as the search box for the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, also powering Cortana the personal digital assistant—MS says the search box now has 141 million monthly active users. Bing also is the search engine behind the Siri digital assistant on Apple devices and the Amazon Echo voice search appliance
In all, Bing owns about 20% of the search market to Google’s 80%.
Is ad display different from Google?
Compare a local search, like “plumber near me”, from one to the other and you’ll see that Bing slavishly copies Google’s page design. On mobile, they’re virtually identical. On desktop, the first thing you notice is that Bing still has ads on the right rail, which Google cleared out in early 2016. Individual text ads also follow Google’s model, for instance with “extensions”, little data bits like telephone number, address or some text from a review.
But here’s the big difference in display: Fewer advertisers competing to appear on a page, often. Therefore, better chances of clicks on your ad. Therefore, lower costs.
Cheaper by how much?
You’ll have to test it for yourself, but here’s one case study from an agency, writing for Search Engine Watch, pitting mirror ad campaigns on Bing and Google, earlier this year. Result: 63% cheaper on Bing, mainly due to a higher conversion rate, 8.8% vs. 6%. “I, like many PPC managers, have had scenarios where Google has proved to be the most cost-effective network,” wrote the author, Owen Gill from Hallam Internet, “However, the key takeaway is not to dismiss Bing Ads before giving it a chance.”
But Google is still better, right?
In many ways large and small, yes.
Like small: Google automatically creates an eye-catching star rating for a search ad, based on reviews. Bing can’t.
And like big: Besides Google’s own search network, it distributes ads across the Google Display Network, over two million websites that reach 90% of the people on the internet, Google says, with all kinds of sophisticated targeting to reach visitors after they leave your website, or potential visitors with a likely interest in your website. Bing offers a much more limited Content Network that distributes ads to Windows apps.
How to try Bing advertising?
Bing tries to the utmost to make its tools competitive with Google’s; in some ways, it beats Google, for instance, on targeting by gender and age group. But the point is that you’ll find running ad campaigns similar to what you know from AdWords. In fact, Bing makes it very easy just to import your AdWords campaigns into its tool (here’s a description of campaign setup from Bing). Give it a try with campaigns you also run with Google and see how the two compare.
Dex Media’s search engine marketing (SEM) solutions offer local businesses like yours the visibility and flexibility they need to take advantage of local search across the internet.