When it comes to PPC advertising platforms, many of us automatically think of Google, which is not surprising at all as the search engine has a massive market share of 92% globally! But is Google Ads the one size fits all approach for Paid Search marketers? Today we are going to compare Google Ads with Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) to see which platform is the right choice for you.
Let’s take a look at how Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising compare to one another…
Wider and larger demographic
Niche targeting options
More optional fields for product listings
Higher conversion rate
Older demographic with higher incomes
Excellent B2B targeting options
Limited fields make for easy Shopping Ads set up
Google Ads have an undoubtedly higher reach than Microsoft Advertising, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t advertise on Microsoft. While Microsoft doesn’t have the same large, diverse audience that Google has to offer, its audience tends to be older individuals with higher incomes. If your advertising campaign is looking to target mature customers with higher disposable income, you should consider using Microsoft Advertising.
Though many think targeting capabilities are similar across the two platforms, there are niche options they both offer that you should consider when choosing where to set up your campaign.
Google offers the following audience targeting options:
And the following content targeting options:
On the other hand, Microsoft provides:
While Google offers more targeting options to refine your approach outside of custom audiences, Microsoft has an advantage for B2B audiences. Using Microsoft’s LinkedIn Profile Targeting option, you can refine your audience based on their company, industry or job function – all valuable insights that users don’t necessarily identify themselves with in a search query for instance.
Google Ads phased out expanded text ads in favour of responsive search ads in June 2022, with Microsoft Advertising to follow suit in February 2023. With responsive search ads, you will need to enter multiple headlines and description lines, Google and Microsoft will then test different combinations and learn which combinations work best and are most relevant to each search query. Given the similar approach both platforms take to the format, copy often performs similarly, and syncs can help for consistency across both advertisers.
Both platforms also offer shopping ads, and while there are no major differences between the two, it’s worth noting that Google offers more optional fields for product listings. These allow you to add more information to your products to help them appear in relevant search results and stand out from the competition. However, Microsoft is more straightforward and easier to set up due to having fewer required fields. As such, if you’re new to Shopping ads, Microsoft could be your best option to begin testing before you refine your product feed further with Google.
Shopping Ad Placements
On the results page for both Google and Microsoft Bing, shopping ads appear immediately below the search bar, followed by text ads. The only main difference between the two platforms is how ads are labelled. Google has the word “ads” appear as bolded text before any ad placements, while Microsoft Bing is a little more subtle with it, placing the label on the far right for shopping ads and just before the description line in a text ad, below the headline and URL.
We can’t have a debate of Google Ads vs Microsoft Advertising without looking at ad performance and return. Here we compare the industry benchmarks for both Google and Microsoft:
When it comes to cost-per-click, Microsoft Ads are considerably cheaper than Google due to having less competition. Microsoft’s average CPC stands at $1.54, while Google’s average CPC is over 70% higher at $2.69.
Conversion rate (CVR)
The average conversion rate for Google is 3.75%, while Microsoft has a lower conversion rate of 2.94%. This comes down to how audiences are searching differently on each platform. For example, the majority of Google’s users are searching on mobile, while Microsoft Bing attracts more desktop users.
Cost-per-action can vary hugely between industries. The average CPA for Google across all industries is $48.96. Microsoft’s average is 15% lower with a CPA of $41.44. The lower CPA for Microsoft mostly comes down to cheaper CPCs. The audience for Microsoft is generally older and more educated which makes it a greater opportunity for higher value industries with longer sales cycles.
In an ideal world, we’d recommend running PPC advertising campaigns across both Google and Microsoft platforms to reach as many relevant users as possible and avoid being overtaken by your competitors. Additionally, a more comprehensive paid media campaign should span across different platforms, networks and websites (via display advertising and paid social campaigns) since potential customers search in different ways across different sites.
If you have to choose one platform though, the right choice for you will depend on the approach you’d like to take with your campaigns.
Given Google’s market share, if you want to reach your largest range of customers, it’s often the best option with various targeting options, detailed ad formats and a diverse range of demographics. However, with options like LinkedIn profile targeting, Microsoft allows you to reach more of a niche audience that often suits the B2B industry. This approach can aid new advertisers or those with limited budgets who want to run initial tests and still gain significant insights with a relevant audience.
If you need support building and managing a paid media advertising campaign, reach out to our team to discuss your options.