What to do about Bing?

Posted by Megan-Rae Grove
Last updated 19th February 2020

Estimated read time: 8 minutes. 

This question has seemed to be continuously asked for as long as I have been in PPC. In many ways, Bing, or as it is now known as, Microsoft Advertising, has become the butt of a joke that no one tells the storyline for anymore (or needs to, for that matter). But is it deserved?

Bing, according to Bing, still holds more than a 35% share of the desktop market in the US (a small part of me doubts this claim, sorry, Bill), which will be because it is still many people’s default browser setting. This is despite what Apple or Google would like you to think – not everyone is running around with a Macbook running Safari or Google Chrome.

So who are the people who bother searching on Bing?

Well, for many who are not so search engine or tech-savvy, they may not have the knowledge or the desire to change their default browser. Others may have used Bing as the default search engine because they’ve enjoyed the interface and found the results to be relevant and what they needed, so what would be the point in changing? Bing serving as the default browser has proven successful.

Another less well-known fact is that Bing powers Cortana and Microsoft Edge, as well as many other services and devices outside of Microsoft – including Amazon Kindle, Apple’s search results for Siri, and Spotlight Search. These partnerships mean Bing is reaching a bigger audience, plus a more diverse one than we previously assumed.

Bing recently put out their own stats, giving a great insight into their market share. Here are a few quick snippets: 

  • 55% are under the age of 45 
  • Gender is a 50/50 split 
  • 22% have incomes in the top 25% 
  • 80% are the decision-makers at work 
  • 43% are the senior decision-makers at work

Now, those last two stats need to be paid attention to, combined with the (slightly outdated but still useful) research done in 2015 by Research produced by comScore, which found that those searching through Bing spend 25% more than people using other search engines. This makes for a smaller pool of people to pick from, but a shorter lead time and higher purchase rate for advertising.

What are the other benefits of Bing?

One of the glaringly obvious benefits is targeting and remarketing. One that may not be so obvious to anyone who doesn’t stare at ads all day is that Bing is far cheaper. To put it crassly, you get more bang for your buck on Bing. Cost per click is considerably lower than a Google Ads campaign and there is a lot less competition, so you can be more confident that you or your client will take up a lot more real estate space in search listings more of the time. 

Money for testing campaigns can be a tough conversation to have, internally and also with clients, especially if you or your clients are medium to small businesses, as ultimately, money spent needs to see a positive return. With Bing, the test spend can be small but can prove a lot. From my own professional experience, a B2B company we worked with spent £16.79 in one month on ad spend on Bing and received one of their biggest orders of the year from all search campaigns, including Google, equating to £7k in revenue. That is a result I will personally dine out on for quite some time, but it offers a positive perspective on what Bing can do on very little spend.

What are the drawbacks?

Bing isn’t as consistent at updating itself as Google Ads. What this means is that the tracking and AI offered compared to Google Ads is simpler and less detailed. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is still an abundance of data, as with any platform, but it does always appear to be a good few months behind any Google update. This can be tricky to explain to clients and to work out personally when trying to compare or contrast campaigns, but the key goodness is their clicks, conversions etc, so you can still get a good picture of whether a campaign is successful or not.

So what do we do about Bing?

My answer, like all paid media products we review and propose, depends on each client’s individual goals, requirements  and budget. If we run Google paid ads, then I would always advise adding Bing to the mix, even on a small spend – especially for B2B. With the audience insights of key decision makers making up 80% of the users on Bing, it would be rude not too. And with an average lower cost per click and less competition on a smaller budget, there really isn’t a lot to lose, but there’s a real potential gain.

Looks like Bing is here to stay, for the moment at least, so let’s utilize what we can.

If you or a client are interested in running Bing Ads, please feel free to get in touch. I’d love to start this discussion for you and your business. 

Posted by Megan-Rae Grove