For many new paid search marketers entering the industry, they are often bombarded with the countless PPC networks out there that are available to them. Two of the most discussed and debated paid search networks out there have to be Bing Ads and Google Ads. Having been around the longest and promoted by two of the largest companies in the world, the chances are that everyone has had experience with at least one of the two.
With marketers always wanting to squeeze the best ROI from their ad spend, which PPC network should they be using? Why should someone use Bing Ads over Google Ads or vice versa?
Here’s everything you need to know about Bing Ads vs Google Ads and which one you should be using for your paid search campaigns.
Bing Ads vs Google Ads Showdown
A long time ago, Google Ads ruled the PPC world and dominated almost all of the market, until Bing Ads came along in 2006. One of the first three major search engines to start selling ads on their website, Bing (known as MSN at the time), eventually renamed their paid search network to Bing Ads. Since then, Bing Ads has become Google’s primary search engine competitor and is in a constant battle to try and win over users.
To help you decide which paid search network you should be using, we’re taking a look at the most important areas of each network. From the average cost per click, to audience reach, and the demographics of users, we’ve compared the likes of Google Ads and Bing Ads to see what you can expect.
To get things started, let’s take a look at the cost differences between the two networks and which offers cheaper clicks.
When comparing Bing and Google Ads, one of the most critical differences is price. As paid search marketers, everyone wants to get the most out of their budget, which means keeping a close eye on your average cost per click. As you’ve probably guessed, Bing and Google Ads have pricing differences which for many, can be an important deciding factor.
Due to its popularity, Google has a higher average cost per click of around $2 as reported by WordStream, while Bing Ads is slightly lower at $1.54. From this data alone, it might seem like Bing Ads is the winner due to its lower CPC, but other factors come into play, such as how likely one of these clicks is going to convert.
Although it’s true that there is usually less competition on Bing Ads for the same keywords on Google Ads, the quality and demographics of the traffic should always be taken into account. We’ll cover the quality and demographics of traffic in later sections, but for now, all you need to know is that Google usually has higher quality traffic. This means you will most likely end up spending more, but will also see a much higher conversion rate.
Network Reach Differences
It’s no secret that Google is the largest search engine in the world and has hundreds of millions of visitors every single day. Since Google’s search engine is also part of their Google Ads network, it should be no surprise that they get more traffic when compared to Bing Ads.
According to sources, Google has 92.95% market share of the worldwide search engine market while Bing only has 2.32%.
Since Bing ads power the majority of Yahoo searches and ads, it only makes sense to include Yahoo’s search engine market share at 1.6% as well. This brings Bing’s total share to around 3.92% at the time of writing, which is slightly down from 12 months ago.
In addition to its main search network, Google also has a network of 3rd party publishers known as AdSense. As of 2019, there are over 12 million websites that are part of their network which advertisers can advertise on.
Similar to Google’s AdSense, Bing Ads also have their own network, which is called the syndicated partner network, but there are no numbers on how big the network is. The chances are however that it’s significantly lower than Google’s or Microsoft would be using it as their unique selling point.
With Bing having a significantly lower market share compared to Google, it’s only to be expected that they don’t have as much reach or traffic to offer.
Quality of Traffic Differences
Although both Google Ads and Bing Ads can deliver a lot of traffic, determining the quality of the traffic they provide is crucial to maintaining a high ROI.
Since you pay for every click you receive, making sure every click is legitimate is essential to a successful campaign. The last thing you want is competitors, robots, and unhappy customers committing click fraud on your ads.
Google Ads claims to have a built-in anti-fraud system that identifies when fraudsters are clicking your ads and refunds the cost as invalid clicks, but the results are debatable. In addition to their anti-fraud system, they also have a refund request form where unhappy customers can request a refund if they suspect fraudulent clicks.
On the other hand, Bing Ads also state they have an anti-fraud department and will issue refunds on any invalid click they detect. Just like Google, they also have the option to report invalid traffic and clicks that haven’t been picked up by their system.
Although both networks have anti-fraud measures in place, it’s hard to say which is better at detecting fraudulent clicks.
When it comes to the traffic itself, according to research from Bing Ads, the average person who visits Bing spends 35% more online when shopping from their desktops than the average internet users. However, with the statistics coming from Bing themselves, it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Google doesn’t have any fancy stats to convince you to buy their traffic, but as the largest paid search network there is, you can expect to receive targeted and relevant clicks from everyone.
Demographics might seem like a weird thing to compare when talking about two of the largest search engines in the world, but there is actually a big difference between users.
Young people often use Google much more than any other search engine, meaning if you’re looking to target a younger audience, then Google is your best shot. Not only can they be found on the search engine themselves, but thanks to their huge ad network, they can target the younger demographic around the web.
Compared to Google, the demographics are strikingly different. 45% of users are also over the age of 45, while the usage of genders is split 50-50. Since most people use Google as their primary search engine, people who use Bing are certainly harder to target.
Throughout the history of paid search, there have been plenty of regulation changes that have affected what kind of ads advertisers can and can’t display. To compare the different ad restrictions, Google is a lot stricter, especially since they restrict a lot of affiliate marketing links, unlike Bing.
Google currently has a list of all the types of ads they prohibit and have restricted policies on, which include:
- Adult content
- Copyright content
- Gambling & games
- Healthcare & medicines
- Political content
- Financial services
- Bridge pages to affiliate links
Just like Google Ads, Bing Ads also has a list of restricted content advertisers can’t display:
- Hate speech
- Peer-to-peer file sharing
- Political and religious content
- Suffering and violence
- Sensitive advertising
- Tax collection
- Unregulated user-generated content
As you can see, some restrictions are similar such as political content and adult advertising, but overall, Bing is more relaxed on what users can advertise. Recently, Google caused a stir when they banned cryptocurrency ads for a short time before deciding to unban them. Any form of affiliate marketing is also not allowed on Google as advertisers must sell the product directly and not be referring users to affiliate schemes. Bing, on the other hand, does allow advertisers to do this which is a major difference from Google’s policies. If you have something that’s not allowed to be advertised on Google, then checking Bing’s policies would be a good idea.
Types of Ads
When it comes to the kind of ads allowed on the network, Google wins hands down. Not only are they innovators when it comes to new ad types, but the rate at which they release new ad types is downright impressive.
A good example of this is Google’s call-only ads. These ads display on mobile devices only and allow the user to click the phone number to start a direct call. Bing doesn’t have these ads yet, although many have been campaigning for them to be added, it’s very unlikely they will be.
If you’re looking for something more than your standard search ad, then Google is the place to go. It’s likely Bing will catch up in the future, but for now, Google has the most ad types by far.
To help advertisers with their online paid search efforts, many networks offer free tools to help users research and improve their campaigns.
Google Ads has offered its famous keyword planner to customers for decades, letting them research keywords and search volume as well as forecasting future trends. For many, this tool has become the goto for all keyword research. In addition to this, Google Ads also provide a helpful Google editor app that can be downloaded and used offline. This app lets users create ads faster and then upload them to their Google account.
Bing Ads is no different and also has their keyword planner, which helps users research and discover new keywords on their platform. Although the planner might not be as advanced compared to Google’s, the functionality is still there.
Bing Ads vs Google Ads Conclusion
Now you’ve seen all the major differences between Bing Ads and Google Ads, it’s time to summarise the results to decide which is better.
Here’s a quick table to highlight the main differences between the two paid traffic services.
Bing Ads vs Google Ads Comparison Table
||Average $2 CPC
||Average $1.54 CPC
||12 million external sites
|Quality of Traffic
||Spend 35% more online
||Strict policies for certain categories
||More relaxed policies
|Types of Ads
||Search, display, shopping, call only, smart
||Search, display, shopping
||Keywords planner, offline ad editor
As you can see, the main differences are the cost per click, network reach, and demographics. Google tends to be more expensive due to the higher levels of competition and popularity, while also having a much larger advertising network.
Bing is still a great competitor to Google with its network, but currently, their lack of market share usually makes them the second choice. Although in recent years, Bing has managed to increase their share of the search engine market, they still have a long way to go.
If you’re already using Google Ads for your PPC campaigns, then Bing is always a great way to get additional traffic. But if you’re not currently running any PPC ads, then you’re probably going to find better results with Google based on their better targeting and larger network.
No matter what paid search network you choose, you should always be wary of click fraud and illegitimate clicks. Since you pay a significant amount per click, it makes sense that you should be checking the clicks you receive for fraud.
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