case study

Google AdWords vs Bing Ads: Where Should You Invest Your Time And Money?

When it comes to pay per click campaigns for your business, which platforms will bring a profitable return? If you're thinking of investing in Adwords, Bing or both, this blog post is for you.

Well, here’s the thing: with every single day that passes, new advertisers are creating Google AdWords accounts, and creating their first campaigns.

Some of them are going to target the same keywords you do, driving up your Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Action (CPA) in the process.

The numbers speak for themselves: back in 2013, the average CPC was a measly $0.92. This jumped to $1.02 in 2014, and $1.52 in 2015.

In 2016, the average CPC rose to $2.14. With costs inflating every year, the smart thing to do will be to diversify your PPC efforts, and experiment with other channels.

Now, you might be thinking: if more people start advertising with Bing, won’t that drive up CPCs and CPAs as well?

Yes, that’s right, but the allure of Bing lies in the fact that it’s seen as an underdog, and companies still predominantly prefer using AdWords instead of Bing.

In other words, if you’re on Bing, you have less competition to deal with.

For all those companies who are trying to decide if they should stick with AdWords, or invest Bing as well, read on to find out how these two platforms stack up. Let’s dive right in!

 

Setting up your account

You can set up AdWords and Bing accounts pretty easily, and these processes don’t require any sort of technical knowledge.

 

AdWords

To set up your AdWords account, head over to https://adwords.google.com and sign in using your email.

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If you want to create an Express Account, go ahead and follow the guided instructions, but keep in mind that this limits your ability to access various ad configuration options.

To create a full-fledged account, click on “Skip the guided setup.”

Once that’s done, fill in the required details about your email, time zone, and more, and you’ll be taken to your dashboard.

To set up your payment system, click the spanner icon at the top right hand corner, and click “Billing & Payments”.

Once that’s done, you’re all ready to set up your first campaign!

 

Bing

To set up your Bing Ads account, navigate to https://bingads.microsoft.com, click “Sign up for Bing Ads”, and enter your email address.

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Then click “Check availability”, and “Next”. Sign into the portal, fill in your account info, and click “Create Account”.

Now, Bing will prompt you to set up a new campaign, but you can come back to this later.

Skip the step, and enter your billing information first. Once you’ve got that set up, then it’s time to look at...

 

Importing AdWords campaigns into Bing

Not many business owners realise this, but Bing Ads has a super useful feature that allows advertisers to import their existing AdWords campaigns into Bing.

If you ask us, this lessens the friction by a lot! Of course, there are some caveats to this.

First, some settings don’t get imported together with your campaign, so you’ll need to go into your Bing campaign to recreate them.

These include automated rules, sitelink, app, location, and call ad extensions at the ad group level, as well as remarketing lists and associations and IP exclusions.

Bing also states that “specific situations require special attention during import”, and that you should check these items to make sure everything’s working just fine.

For a complete list, check out Bing’s article.

 

Cost of clicks and conversions

There are plenty of case studies online which compare AdWords and Bing Ads’ CPCs and CPAs, and the bulk of these find that Bing Ads bring about lower costs.

For example, Wordstream states that out of their clients who advertise on both Google and Bing, nearly all enjoy lower CPCs on Bing.

We’re talking about a 33.5% cheaper CPC on average, which is pretty substantial.

That’s not all - Wordstream also pointed out that the ads served on Bing were often in better positions than the ones on Google counterparts, and they had higher click through rates (CTRs) as well.

Then there’s digital marketing agency Hallam Internet, which conducted a 45-day trial to test the effectiveness of AdWords vs Bing Ads campaigns.

With this trial, the agency set up three campaigns per network, with each set of campaigns being identical in their targeting, bidding strategy and landing page experiences.

The results?

They found that it was 63.23% cheaper to gain a conversion on Bing compared to Google.

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Image from SearchEngineWatch.com.

Unlike what we saw with Wordstream, Hallam Internet didn’t encounter any major differences in the CPCs, average positions and CTRs of the ads served on the different networks.

The cheaper CPA that Hallam Internet experienced with Bing predominantly boils down to their conversion rates - which was 5.96% on Google, and 8.78% on Bing.

 

Spending and budgets

AdWords

In AdWords, you set a daily budget, and Google calculates an effective monthly budget based on this.

More specifically, they’ll multiply your daily budget by 30.4, which is the average number of days in a month, and peg your monthly maximum spend to that value.

Do note, that your AdWords spend will vary on a day-to-day basis, and that you might even exceed your daily limit by up to 20% on any given day.

Having said that, the AdWords platform will compensate for this overspending subsequently, so that your final ad spend (for one month) remains within the specified budget.

If you’re running multiple campaigns at the same time, there’s also an option for you to share your budget across some or all of these campaigns.

 

Bing Ads

When it comes to budgeting, Bing Ads gives their advertisers more flexibility, and allows you to choose between daily budgets or monthly budgets for your campaigns.

The former is pretty straightforward, but if you choose the latter, Bing Ads will show your ads as and when they qualify for an auction, and pause them when your monthly budget is fully spent.

For those using a monthly budget, Bing also provides a daily budgeting feature that you may use to allocate your ad spend across an entire month.

For instance, let’s say your monthly budget is $6,000 for a month that has 30 days. If you set your daily budget to $200, this means that your ads will show up (like clockwork!) every single day.

The daily budgeting feature also gives you the ability to choose between standard or accelerated delivery.

With standard delivery, Bing will pace your ads and show them slowly throughout the day; with accelerated delivery, Bing will throw your ads out in all the auctions it’s eligible for, and pause it when your daily budget runs out.

PS: Regardless of whether you’re using AdWords or Bing, you’ll need to track your daily ad spend, and make sure you’re not bursting your budget.

For a detailed breakdown on how to do this, check out Search Engine Land’s article on managing PPC budgets.

 

Audience size and demographics

First, let’s talk about demographics. Google users are more likely to be young (between the ages of 18-44, to be specific), and a good portion of their audience are categorized as “Music Lovers” and “Gamers”.

On the other hand, Bing users tend to be older (between the ages of 45-65), with 44% of Bing users being married folks.

Now, here’s where things get interesting: almost 50% of Bing’s audience has a household income of $75,000 or more, with approximately 32% exceeding $100,000 in household income.

When it comes to purchasing power, Bing’s audience definitely stands out!

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Image from Instapage.com

When it comes to audience size and reach, though, Bing can’t hold a candle to Google.

While Bing is growing quickly, the monthly number of searches that they process (5.4 billion) still pales in comparison to Google’s 105 billion.

If your priority is getting your brand exposed to as many people as possible, then Google might still be the better option.

 

Is Google AdWords or Bing Ads better?

From the various case studies we see online, it seems as though Bing Ads results in lower CPCs and CPAs for many companies, making it a highly attractive option for business owners on a tight budget.

Do note that CPCs and CPAs differ across different industries and product types, though, and that what worked for another business might not necessarily work for you.

We definitely recommend giving Bing Ads a shot, though, just so you know whether Bing or AdWords is more effective for your business.

You might decide to shift part of your budget to Bing, or keep it all with Google… it all depends on your results!

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