Online advertising on search networks is a common part of a digital marketing strategy. At times, it’s confusing to choose the right search network for advertising your products. Amongst all the search networks, Microsoft Advertising (formerly known as Bing Ads) and Google Ads have been the most popular ones.
It is a well-known fact that Google holds the majority of the search traffic. But Bing can’t be ignored because it is also a powerful advertising platform. Both Bing and Google can be used to run pay-per-click advertisements to help businesses reach specific audiences, drive traffic, and increase revenue. They differ in terms of their specific features and benefits, making them unique and advantageous over the other.
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In this article, you’ll learn how Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads differ and how their features work for your ad campaign. Read on to find where you should spend your money for assured ad success.
The Two Types of Google Ads
1. Search Network Ads
The text ads that appear on the Google search network or SERP are called Search Network Ads.
2. Display Network Ads
The display ads that appear across various websites, that are a part of the Google Display network are called Display Network Ads.
Google claims that its Display Network Ads reach most online users, while its Search Network Ads gives websites more visibility compared to the other websites listed on Google’s search engine result page.
How is Microsoft Advertising Different?
Microsoft Advertising has a reach of 124 million (at the time of writing) unique desktop searchers which Google was unable to achieve.
Microsoft Ads vs. Google Ads
We can’t blindly claim that one is better than the other without comparing them. Every minute difference between the two of them influences your ads’ conversion. Let’s consider them one by one in the following sections.
Both Microsoft Ads and Google Ads have their display URL shown right below the ad title. As you can see from the image below, the difference is that Microsoft Ads highlights the URL, while Google Ads doesn’t do that.
The character limitation for both Microsoft’s Text Ads and Google’s Search Network Ads were quite different. Google allows two separate description lines with 90 characters each, while Microsoft Ads offered only one line with 71 characters, called the Microsoft Standard Text Ad. It has improved now, with two lines with 90 characters each. These ads are known as Microsoft Expanded Text Ad.
Keywords are an important part of PPC advertising. Both Microsoft and Google provide keyword research tools, broad match, and negative keyword targeting. The difference between both comes in the search volume for keywords, it is much smaller on Microsoft.
When it comes to search engines, Google dominates the industry. And the reason for this is its huge search traffic and wide reach. But this doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore Microsoft ads and concentrate solely on Google ads for PPC advertising. The reason is simple, Microsoft Ads is growing now like never before. As of March 2020, the Microsoft Search Network data said it had 11.7 billion monthly PC searches with 556 million unique users globally. Well, this number matters a lot and it clearly depicts why you should start advertising with Microsoft Advertising.
While comparing search traffic volumes, the Bing search engine is far behind Google. But Bing compensates when it comes to its performance. As a paid search marketer, you expect to make the most out of the money you spent. The budget you spend on advertising on Bing is much cheaper compared to Google ads. This is because of the far less competition for advertisers bidding on Microsoft Advertising. This reflects on the clicks as well, making you pay less for each click you get.
Microsoft Advertising has the potential to yield you better ROI because it is easier to get the traffic you need at a lower cost on Bing. This can make a difference for many advertisers since most of them consider cost as a crucial deciding factor. Google is weighed down by its popularity making its average CPC higher than Microsoft Ads.
Having said that, this doesn’t completely mean that Microsoft Advertising is advantageous over Google Ads. There are a number of factors that influence the success of PPC ads. For instance, you might save money with Microsoft Advertising because of less competition on each keyword, but it may not necessarily guarantee the quality and demographics of the traffic. There is no point in thinking that you saved money by spending less if you’re earning less. This is so important to consider since your ad success ultimately depends on its results and not the money spent.
Another key aspect to consider while advertising online is the click-through rate. It is a metric that tells how many users click on your ad compared to how many users saw your ad. Well, the average CTR of Microsoft Ads is higher than that of Google’s. This clearly indicates that your ad has the scope to receive more legit clicks on Bing compared to Google. But remember, this doesn’t happen until you create a compelling ad and offer to get users to click on your ads.
You pay for every click your ad receives. So, when you’re paying, ensure that it is worth every penny you invest. It’s pointless when you have to spend on clicks generated through competitors, bots, or unhappy customers. The ROI of your PPC ads depends hugely on the quality of traffic the ad receives.
Google claims to have a built-in system to keep fraudsters away from clicking your ads and facilitate refunds for invalid clicks. Also, they allow you to request a refund if you suspect any fraudulent clicks through the Click Quality Form available in the Google Ads Help.
Microsoft Ads also claim to have such a system to identify fraudsters and further issue refunds. These are known facts about Microsoft Ads and Google Ads. But there are no clear sources to confirm that one is better than the other.
If you really need stats, you can check the data published by Microsoft Search Network Data. But how much you need to trust those stats published by them depends upon you! Google doesn’t need to publish such stats to convince you. One thing you can’t deny is that Google is the largest search network making it receive more targeted and relevant clicks from everyone.
You might think why is demography even a factor while choosing between Microsoft Ads and Google Ads. The users hugely vary with the different search engines. Also, choosing the right demographics is a crucial step while advertising. The type of people viewing your ad can make or break your campaign.
For instance, more young people tend to use Google compared to any other search engine. Suppose you wish to market a product that the youth is interested in, then advertising on Google is the best option for you. Not just that, Google can target the users falling under the younger demographic.
Also, one important aspect to consider is that most people use Google as their primary search engine. This makes it harder to target people on Bing using Microsoft Advertising.
Both Bing and Google restrict advertising products and services from a lot of categories. Comparing both of them, the regulations that Google imposes is a lot stricter than the ones by Bing. Some of the restrictions are similar for both. Bing restricts ads related to dating, hate speech, political and religious content, suffering and violence, and more. While Google restricts adult content, copyright content, political content, and more.
Type of Ads
When it comes to types of ads, Google Ads is impressive over Microsoft Ads since it offers a lot of varieties. The intent of each ad campaign is particularly focussed on a specific objective. For example, Google’s call-only ads focus only on mobile devices with display ads so that the viewer can directly call by clicking on the phone number. Microsoft Ads hasn’t come up with such a type of ad yet. So, as of now, you need to choose Google Ads over Microsoft Ads if you have a specific objective.
To help advertisers use Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads seamlessly, these networks provide free tools for researching keywords, search volume, latest trends, etc.
One of the popular free tools that Google offers is Google’s Keyword Planner. It helps users find keywords related to their niche, get an idea of search traffic that it receives, and know the latest trends. In fact, this tool is a go-to keyword search tool for many. To help users create ads easily, Google offers its editor app which can be used to create ads as well as allows uploading it to their account instantly. Users can use this service offline by downloading the app.
Although not as good as Google, Microsoft Advertising also offers a keyword planner which helps users research and discover new keywords.
You need to equally pay attention to the audience and the content while ad targeting. Google Ads offers more specific targeting options compared to Microsoft Ads. Google has an audience targeting option based on Demographics, Affinity, In-market, Custom intent, Similar audiences, and remarketing. It also has a content targeting option to target the ad audience based on Topic, Placement, Keywords, and Display expansion for search.
On the other hand, Microsoft Ads provides targeting based on In-market, LinkedIn profile, Custom audiences, Keywords, Location, Day of the week, Time of day, Gender, Age, Device, and Remarketing.
Ad Copy Limits
Both Microsoft Ads and Google Ads specify some guidelines for character limitation basically when it comes to text ads. The headlines, descriptions, and display URLs for your landing page are some main elements that determine the success of your ads. The character count of these elements determines the ad’s freedom and flexibility.
For Google Ads, it’s 30 characters each for 3 headlines, 90 characters each for 2 descriptions, and 15 characters for the path (display URL). While for Microsoft Ads, it’s 30 characters each for 2 headlines, 80 characters for a single description, and 15 characters for the display URL. From these numbers, it’s clearly visible that Google offers more freedom and flexibility for its users than Microsoft Ads.
Import Google Ads Campaign to Microsoft Ads
Suppose you already have a Google ad campaign, you can easily try out expanding your business reach through advertising on Bing. Microsoft Ads has its own simple and efficient tool to import your campaigns directly from Google Ads. Using this tool, you can import important details such as Bids and Budgets and Product Ads. The end goal is to reach as many people as possible. Marketers can use this opportunity to experiment on a new platform and grow conversions.
Microsoft Ads and Google ads have their differences as well as commonalities. They differ mostly with CPC, reach, and demographics. Google Ads tends to be expensive in comparison with Microsoft Ads because of its high levels of competition and popularity. Although the search market is dominated by Google, Microsoft Ads has advantages of having a variety of keyword targeting options.
The keywords used in the Bing search engine have a smaller search volume which means that it has only fewer users, decreasing the number of opportunities to reach your target audience.
Just because Microsoft Ads has a lower average CPC over Google, it doesn’t mean that Microsoft Ads is favourable. Ad success doesn’t completely depend on the CPC, but on the results. Results matter the most and not the money spent over it without gaining anything.
Do not consider cost as a deciding factor when you consider debating over Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. Instead, take more interest in knowing its performance and returns. And then choose the one that works best for you or maybe choose both.
Depending on your brand, business, product, service, or campaign objective, you need to choose what works best for you. Monitor your ads consistently and experiment on different ad platforms.
Your product could be highly specific or it could be something that applies to a wide category of people, find the sweet spot and invest. But if your budget allows, the best strategy for digital advertising is to invest in both Microsoft Ads and Google Ads. Moreover, create ads that people love. In the end, the results matter the most and not the money you’re saving by wasting it!
If all these still seem confusing, worry not, we’ve got a team of online ad campaign experts to help you.