SMBs need to start looking at Bing if they want to keep the paid search traffic coming at a manageable cost.
Bing Has a Lot Going for It
Bing Ads (formerly AdCenter) used to be the platform of last resort if you were looking for search traffic growth. But they’ve spent the last few years building respectable market share and a robust ad platform. If you’re lamenting the rise in cost and complexity on AdWords, then you need to think about what Bing Ads brings to the table:
US Market Share
As of December 2015, Bing had captured ~20% of US search market share according to ComScore. And you can arguably call it 30% if you include Yahoo sites. This means they’re serving billions of searches per year along with ads. You can’t ignore that type of visibility.
Bing Ads is available in over 30 countries including our North American neighbors plus India and the major markets in Western Europe. It’s not as widespread as Google, but the coverage includes the largest internet markets in the world other than China.
Lower CPCs (YMMV)
For several years now, independent research has shown that you pay less per click with Bing: in 2013, AdGooroo found that in some verticals AdWords advertisers were paying over a 100% premium on clicks versus Bing; and in 2015, WordStream reported 33.5% cheaper CPC on Bing amongst their clients.
You shouldn’t assume you’ll see huge savings on clicks, especially if you’re competing in industries like insurance or business software. But it’s safe to assume some savings if only due to less competition.
A Different Way of Managing
Bing lets you manage language settings, ad scheduling, geo-targeting and other settings at the AdGroup-level. You can still do it at the campaign-level, but you’ll find that AdGroup management gives you some interesting opportunities.
The “extra” AdGroup settings drove me crazy when I first started using Bing, but you learn to appreciate it. The added granularity means you can do more with fewer campaigns. For example, in AdWords I’d have to create a separate campaign to manage day-parting, but with Bing I can just make changes to the AdGroup where I want tighter spend control. The same applies to geography, devices and gender-age. Just remember to un-check the box telling Bing to use the campaign settings.
Many of the Same Tools As Google
In case you’re wondering, Bing offers Display (called Content Network), Remarketing and Shopping Campaigns similarly to Google. The options are slightly different, but they are similar enough for you to figure them out. They have also rolled out a desktop editor like AdWords Editor and will let you import AdWords campaigns to get started easier.
Note: I don’t suggest importing and forgetting, but the import will let you get setup quickly. After the import, make sure you go through and adjust settings or you’ll end up with either no traffic or very low quality traffic.
Bing is Worth a Test
With it’s large audience, good tools and potentially lower costs, it makes sense to try out Bing Ads. I don’t think any of us will be abandoning AdWords, but its time to start looking for less-expensive traffic and new audiences. It’s worth a test with some of your best keywords and any that have seen a strong spike in CPC or cost/conv lately. Signup, import our AdWords campaigns, and put a little time into it. I think you’ll like what you see.