Each day millions of people type keywords into search engines, seeking out products, services and information. While search engine results pages (SERPs) feature organic results, they are top and tailed with paid ads known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

Google Ads may have the lion’s share of the PPC market but does that mean it’s the only option that will deliver you results and return on your investment?

Along with Google Ads, Bing Ads have become a preferred search platform for advertisers. While they share similar functionalities, they both also boast unique features that are worth exploring by a business looking to reach audiences, send traffic to their website and convert sales.

Google v Bing

The concept behind both platforms is the same. Both are pay-per-click advertising platforms designed to help businesses reach specific audiences, drive traffic, and increase revenue.

Google Ads

Google Ads is comprised of two advertising networks:
Search Advertising: Text ads appear on the Google search engine results pages (SERP).
Display Advertising: Display ads appear on a vast number of websites across the Google Display Network.

Bing Ads

Owned by Microsoft, Bing is comprised of three search engines—Bing, Yahoo and AOL. When you advertise on one platform, your ad is actually seen on all three. This opens up campaigns to searchers across all sites owned and operated by Bing, Yahoo and AOL, as well as other partner sites.

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Spot the difference

With a host of similar and unique features, both Google and Bing can deliver real benefits to different industries, businesses, demographics and of course, budgets with a range of features and functionalities unique to each platform.

It’s no secret that Google dominates the search engine market and has therefore secured a larger search volume and reach when compared to alternatives. But this doesn’t position Google as the only search engine worth investing in. Bing may be second fiddle to Google in overall market share, but it holds almost 10% of the search engine share on desktop searches in Australia, equating to around 192 million searches every month. It is important to note that display advertising reach is lower on the Bing network as ads will only be served on Windows apps.

For PPC campaigns, Bing has less competition when it comes to bidding, meaning clicks cost less and advertisers get more bang for their buck. When comparing the costs of each platform it should be taken into consideration that each platform doesn’t necessarily get the same quality traffic. CPC may appear lower but your ROI may be higher once you take into account conversions.

The biggest difference in search results is that Bing may show the same ad more than once—at the top and bottom of search results. Other differences are minimal but worth mentioning.

  • Display URL: Both Google and Bing show display URLs below the ad headline but Bing goes one step further to highlight them in bold.
  • Description text: Bing allows for 80 characters in the description while Google permits 90.
  • Sidebar ads: Google no longer offers sidebar ads but the change didn’t noticeably affect results. If sidebar ads are important to your campaign however, Bing still offer this functionality as extended text ads.

When scheduling ad extensions in Bing, you have the option to set it to appear in the time zone of the location of the person viewing your ad, a functionality lacking in the Google Ads platform.

Google Ads offers a range of extensions that enable you to present your information and ads in a way that will be most appealing to your audiences and therefore generate more clicks—and potentially conversions. Bing offers many of the most popular extensions you’d find in Google Ads such as call, callout, review, structured snippet and location. A unique offering by Bing though are their image extensions which allow up to six images to be uploaded with ad copy and other extensions and will appear alongside ad text.

Further to manually managing bids, Google provides a number of automated bidding strategies so you can set and forget while Bing’s automated options are limited.

Google Ads allows negative keywords to be added in broad match, phrase match and exact match, whereas Bing only allows this feature in broad match.

On average, costs per click are lower on Bing however search volume is significantly less when compared to Google. Despite this, click through rates are often higher on the Bing network.

When it comes to the user interface, Google Ads is hands down the more responsive platform, making setting up and editing much quicker. This said, Bing can easily import campaigns from Google ads, making it way to launch an advertising campaign on the Bing network in just a few clicks.

Google Adwords is somewhat limiting when it comes to search partner functionalities. While Bing reports exactly which search partner sites your traffic is coming from and exclude ones that are not performing, Google only provides the option to include or not include search partners, with no reporting available.

Two heads are better than one

There’s rarely a one-size-fits all solution to search engine advertising, so it’s not necessarily a case of Google v Bing but rather how each platform is best positioned to help you achieve business goals and convert traffic into sales.

Each platform is different and each comes with pros and cons when compared to the other—Google may work best for one campaign while Bing may produce better results for another. It’s worth testing campaigns on both platforms to get a feeling for what works best and where. You might be surprised!

If you need some extra heads and hands to fully understand the ins and outs of both Google and Bing ad platforms and to test the waters, contact our friendly team for an obligation free chat about your digital advertising goals.

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