Tag Archives: microsoft ads

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Oct 31 , 2022

Can you expand ad reach beyond Google? Capture new traffic and maximize revenue with Bing PPC ads.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The benefits of advertising on both Google and Bing
  • How Microsoft ads compare to Google ads
  • Tips for creating top-quality ads for Bing
  • How Quality Score plays a role

These days, it’s easy to disregard any search network that isn’t Google. Who uses Yahoo, Ask.com, or Bing, anyway?

The answer may surprise you.

It’s true that Google owns the market share in the U.S., accounting for more than 75% of search traffic. We’re talking billions of eyes on your ads.

But while it’s tempting to instinctively jump to Google search alone, you could miss out on all that other search engines like Bing have to offer as advertising platforms.

Bing (Microsoft Ads) opens up doors to new audiences, meaning you’ll expand your pool of potential customers in your search engine marketing efforts. 

If you’re ready to cast a wider net, we’ll teach you how Microsoft Advertising can benefit your marketing campaign, plus best practices and tips to maximize ad potential.

Why use Microsoft ad campaigns?

The case for Google Ads is clear, but why not add another 1.2 billion users and monthly searches to your audience? That’s right, Bing attracts 1.2 billion users per month worldwide. You wouldn’t say no to more social media followers, right?

The numbers continue to grow as Microsoft Advertising expands to 32 new countries in Asia and Latin America.  Plus, Microsoft’s search engine closely seconds Google in U.S. search engine user satisfaction, only behind by eight points on a hundred-point scale (71 for Bing, 79 for Google). 

Bottom line? Your marketing strategy needs Bing ads.

  • Reason #1: You’ll expand your reach to new audiences.
  • Reason #2: You’ll convert them, too. 

Keep reading for a side-to-side comparison of Microsoft vs. Google Ads.

bing homepage wildlife image

To make your job easier, Microsoft Ads allows you to import Google Ads campaigns seamlessly. (Image: Bing)

Microsoft Advertising vs. Google Ads: A complete comparison

Of course, there are plenty of similarities to be found between Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, which show up on the Bing search engine

They’re both used to push highly relevant ads to users who are most likely to make a purchase. However, there are also a few key differences to keep in mind.

Both Microsoft and Google Ads connect your product or service with target audiences. But each one differs in its audience, targeting settings, and analytics. 

Audience

Google has the widest audience and search volumeeveryone hangs out there. Correction: almost everyone.

Bing gives you access to a smaller, segmented group with higher income and less competition. Microsoft tells us 34% of searchers are in the top 25% of household income ($100,000+), making Bing an excellent spot for PPC advertising.

But you should be aware of people you won’t find on Bing. For example, if you’re interested in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community, Bing probably won’t reach them. Only 2% of Bing data searchers identified as LGBTQ+.

Additionally, younger users are more likely to use Google Suite tools before Microsoft and Bing. Our SEM manager, Katherine Kiraly, elaborates: 

“I think the reason Bing users are older is that they are using Microsoft Edge on their work computers in corporate professional settings. These people use the entire Microsoft suite from Teams to Outlook. Younger audiences at smaller companies use the G-Suite (Chrome, Gmail, etc).”

Partner network

While Google Ads has a balanced network of both search and display ads, Bing has a much more limited display ad network. Bing’s network is relegated to Microsoft-owned products, including Windows operating systems, Outlook, Microsoft Edge, and Xbox.

Terms: You may also find that each platform uses a different language to describe its functions and metrics. For example, Google tends to use cost per acquisition (CPA) along with the cost of conversion, while Microsoft Ads only uses the term CPA. 

Cost Per Click (CPC): Microsoft’s average CPC for Bing ad accounts is generally lower at $0.84; Google doesn’t advertise a figure but experts cite Google’s CPC as between $1-$2. You can predict Google’s average CPC depending on your industry with their handy Keyword Planner. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR): Google’s overall CTR is 3.17%, with higher (and lower) rates in specific industries. Kiraly elaborates: 

“I see higher CTRs across the board in Google while in Bing it’s very keyword-dependent, so the overall CTR for a Bing account is usually much lower than its Google counterpart.”

Ad scheduling

Google Ads uses your time zone to schedule ads, while Microsoft Ads uses the ad viewer’s time zone.

Search partner targeting

Both Google and Microsoft Ads let you place your ads beyond the search engine results page (SERP). However, the way you select partner networks is different. Google gives you a choice to expand to these networks, while Bing allows you to target Bing and Yahoo, just search partners, or both.

Close search variants

Google uses close search variants of keywords by default. Microsoft Ads allows this as an option.

The two platforms boast different strengths, but we propose you use both of them. As long as you have a solid PPC strategy and ConversionIQ on your side, you can’t go wrong. 

Next, let’s dig into some best practices that’ll help you create winning ads to attract the ideal Bing searcher

1. Import high-performing Google Ads campaigns to Microsoft Ads

To make your job easier, Microsoft Advertising allows you to import Google Ads campaigns seamlessly. Simply use the import feature to carry your PPC campaigns over to Microsoft’s ad platform. 

While you can test your most successful Google Ads campaigns using Bing, keep in mind things may look and work a little different on each platform.

Our advice? Don’t go live right away. First, carefully examine each of these items after importing.

  • Bids and budgets: Microsoft automatically increases Google’s bids and budgets to meet their minimums. 
  • Negative keywords: Microsoft only uses exact match negative keywords, not broad match. 
  • Targeting options: Microsoft doesn’t include select targeting options (more on this later).

As you make adjustments to your Google Ads campaign, you can apply them to the Bing Ads campaign through import. The result? A lower-cost campaign with a more focused audience. 

Keep in mind that you can’t import:

  • Video campaigns: These are done through YouTube.
  • Remarketing lists: You can’t import in-marketing audiences, combined lists (NOT conditions), or customer lists. 
  • Age targeting: You can’t import Google’s 45-54 age group to Microsoft
  • Exact location targeting: Microsoft doesn’t support some smaller city targets that Google Ads include. 

You can import changes to the Microsoft Ads campaign on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

And if your Google campaigns have solid CTR and Quality Scores? 

“Bing copycats Google, so if you have good CTR and Quality Scores in Google it’s a safe bet to import those campaigns into Bing.” says Kiraly. “There is less ad inventory on Bing but it’s also much less expensive (like 1/3rd less)”

Bing SERP rash guards

A smaller budget could take you much farther on Bing than it would with Google. (Image: Bing)

2. Create high-quality ad copy and images 

Like search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, ad optimization is all about creating ads that appeal to your target audience — not search engines.

Keywords are important, but you’re ultimately creating ads to appeal directly to your target audience. With this goal in mind, try to:

  • Use on-brand colors that attract attention
  • Highlight product, service, or brand elements through images
  • Create ads using high-quality images without pixelation
  • Use images of people without accompanying text or logos
  • Keep ads clean and simple so you don’t overwhelm the user
  • Avoid lengthy headlines — stick to concise, easy-to-read phrases

3. Start broad and narrow your audience based on results

Your dream audience is the rich, chocolate fudge hiding within a Ferrero Rocher shell — but the pièce de résistance is the sweet spot in the middle. 

Your strategy should similarly zoom in on the sweet spot that is your target audience. To do that, start with a broad ad campaign that targets as many users as possible without going over your available budget. 

From there, you can narrow down your audience based on demographics and other traits of users who are likely to click on your ads. 

In the process, you can create more valuable ads that target the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service offerings.

4. Make the most of your budget

Even if you’ve maxed out your Google Ads budget, you can still tailor your budget to perform well on Bing. 

Thanks largely to Bing’s lighter competition, a smaller budget can take you much farther than it would with Google.

You’re also likely to find less expensive costs per acquisition (CPAs) with Microsoft Ads while targeting millions of daily search engine users.

5. Know your target audience on Bing

You might find that your Bing audience is different from your Google audience. If so, you should tailor your campaign audiences accordingly. Bing’s demographic tends to include older users who aren’t as quick to go to Google search if Bing is their default search engine

Meaning?

Your Bing audience is potentially less tech-savvy. However, they make more money than the average Google searcher and will spend more online. They have accumulated more wealth and are willing to spend more money online than their younger counterparts.

Bing is a great place to promote any of your more expensive offerings — costly add-ons that provide more value are more likely to convert Bing’s audience because of their higher budget.  

The differences between your Bing and Google audiences further emphasize the importance of using both.

microsoft advertising benefits

Using a combination of Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads can help you find better paid search success and maximize your business’s overall reach online. (Image: Microsoft Advertising)

6. Optimize the UET tag

Microsoft Ads allows you to set up customized event and conversion actions using Universal Event Tracking (UET). It helps you record visitor activity on your site, powering conversion tracking, automated bid strategies, and audience segmentation. 

The result? You can: 

  • Create custom audiences for remarketing
  • Improve ad performance
  • Lower CPC and CPA

For example, you might notice two distinct audiences on your website: one that abandons your site quickly after one click, and another that lingers, browses and may have already purchased a product in the past. 

UET tags help you cater campaigns to specific audiences and improve campaign performance. 

7. Keep an eye on your Quality Score

Page or domain authority is a key component of a successful Bing campaign. That’s because it gauges a website’s authoritativeness and popularity. 

You can use Bing’s Quality Score metric to determine how much influence your website has on the search engine, which can help you determine your ads’ competitiveness. 

Heads up: Without any adjustments, your Quality Score in Microsoft Ads might be lower than what you have in Google Ads. Kiraly explains:

“Quality Scores seem to be higher in Bing and easier to get than in Google. I think if your Quality Score is above 6/10 in Google it will probably be higher in Bing so you can import those ads easily. Also, you can see QS at the ad group level and keyword level in Bing but only by keywords in Google.” 

The Quality Score ranges from 1 to 10, with the best score being 10. You can improve your Quality Score by: 

  • Conducting more keyword research: Microsoft Advertising has a keyword planner, too – completely free. But if you still need support, we’re happy to take the reins on keyword research and development. 
  • Optimizing your landing pages: Check to ensure your landing page has completely original content and a quick load time. It should also be extremely relevant to ad keywords and buyer intent. 
  • Checking your ad group targeting: You can target ads based on location, day of the week, time of day, device, gender, and age with Microsoft. Plus, you can adjust bids accordingly to up your display chances for your targets.  

8. Take advantage of in-market audiences

Similar to Google Ads, Microsoft Ads offers marketers an intent-based targeting feature that brings the campaign to conversion-ready audiences. Bing uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create lists of users who have shown interest in purchasing items and services similar to yours.

In-market audiences allow you to reach potential buyers without having to run complex targeting campaigns. Not only does this feature save money and help increase conversions, but the setup is easy. 

Hang on, isn’t that the same thing as remarketing based on segmentation? Not quite. With remarketing, you’re responsible for creating a new target list, whereas Microsoft generates in-market audiences with AI. You just have to choose from a list. 

But that list won’t be the same as Google’s. Microsoft has categories and subcategories to narrow things down even further. For example, “Home & Garden” can expand to “Outdoor Items,” “Pools and Spa,” “BBQ and Grills,” or more.

An overlooked subcategory in Bing is a missed opportunity! Don’t assume they’ll be exactly the same as Google — adjust the settings for each one manually to ensure you capture the most suitable targets. 

Note: Microsoft is constantly adding new in-market audience categories. If your industry isn’t there yet, just keep an eye on the updates.

woman using laptop while sitting on floor

Don’t forget to add captions to the video to improve its accessibility. (Image: Unsplash)

9. Import campaigns from Facebook Ads

Do you have a robust Facebook ad campaign in the mix? Compound the success by importing it directly to Microsoft Advertising. As of summer 2021, you can import Facebook Ads campaigns to Microsoft. Here’s what’s included: 

  • Ad groups
  • Bids
  • Location targeting
  • Demographic targeting
  • Images
  • Budget
  • Campaigns 

Just be aware that you can’t import every element of the campaign — you’ll still need to adjust some aspects manually.

Pro tip: Preview all assets, including images, logos, and videos, before allowing your imported Facebook campaign to appear on the Microsoft Audience Network.

10. Explore video extensions

Microsoft Ads allows videos as an extension feature on search ads. Your video will appear next to your ad on the SERP, making it more appealing and engaging to the viewer.

The extension video has a call-to-action (CTA) button that takes the user to the landing page of your choice. Don’t forget to add captions to improve the video’s accessibility.

The cost per click is the same for the video as for the ad, but only for the first click. If the same user clicks to watch the video again, it’s free.

The takeaway

Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads bring unique benefits to your digital marketing strategy, which is why you should take advantage of both. Our list of quick tips will help you optimize your Bing ads for higher conversion rates

But we understand it’s a lot of info to digest.

You might take a crack and still feel like you need some guidance, and hey, that’s where we come in. Many of our e-commerce and B2B clients (including Microsoft) came to us for support with better leads, revenue, and KPIs. 

We have decades of digital marketing experience that informs our process. Additionally, our exclusive ConversionIQ system can help lower CPA by 40%, distinguishing the buyer-intent leads from the tire-kickers. 

Let’s revamp your ad strategy together. Contact us today for a consultation!

This post was updated in October 2022 and was originally published in August 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jun 13 , 2022

Still neglecting the Microsoft Advertising platform and Bing? Here’s why you may want to rethink that.

Here you’ll find:

  • Unique benefits of display ads on Bing
  • Benefits of Microsoft Advertising campaigns  
  • Display ad campaign creation steps 
  • Best practices for helping your ads succeed on this platform

It may not be as heated a debate as Android vs. iPhone, but plenty of people are shocked to discover that Bing users exist — more than 1 billion, in fact.

Even so, most businesses don’t take Microsoft Advertising (formally Bing Ads) seriously because Google dominates the market. 

However, leveraging Microsoft Ads and Bing could be far more beneficial than many realize.

Despite some sources reporting their market share as low as 7.6% in January of 2022, once you add up their network’s combined reach, it becomes clear that Microsoft Advertising is woefully underrated. 

Microsoft extends its reach through its wide range of products. They also work with a massive network of prominent partners, including Amazon, Skype, Verizon, and more. 

bing display ads

Display ads familiarize people with your brand. (Image: Unsplash)

Microsoft Advertising facts & statistics

Without fully understanding what Microsoft Advertising is and how it works, people are quick to dismiss it. If only they knew that:

The value of Bing display ad campaigns

One thing Microsoft Advertising and display ads have in common is that their campaigns can be surprisingly successful. 

Since display ads have a lower conversion rate, people often assume they don’t carry much weight. But immediate conversion isn’t the only metric of success.  

Display ads vs. search ads

Whether on Google or Bing, ads on the search network generally convert better because they’re shown to people actively shopping or seeking information. 

Conversely, display ads are often shown to more passive consumers. But that doesn’t mean they’re less useful — they just serve a different purpose.

Use search ads when:

  • Your goal is immediate conversion
  • Your business is location-specific (storefront)
  • You provide emergency services (plumber, dentist, handyman)

Use display ads when:

  • Your goal is brand awareness or lead generation
  • The product or service isn’t geographically constrained (digital products, e-commerce, services that are accessible worldwide)
  • Your offer has an extended sales cycle (automotive, software)

Pro tip: Display ads familiarize people with your brand. This can help increase search ad conversion and lead to more organic traffic later.  

How to create display ads for Microsoft Advertising

Once you sign up for a Microsoft Advertising account, creating ads is pretty straightforward. There are two ways to get started: you can import ads from Google or create campaigns from scratch.

How to import from Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising

Steps to import one Google Ads account:

  1. To import a single Google Ads account, click on “Import” in the top menu, then “Import from Google Ads.”
  2. Sign in to Google Ads and follow prompts to give Microsoft Advertising permission to import your campaigns.
  3. Select the account you want to import under “Choose accounts,” then click “Next.”
  4. To import without changes, click “Start import.” Your imported Google Ads will be set to the closest Microsoft equivalent settings. 
  5. If you want to specify certain items to be imported or customize bids, budgets, etc., select the “Advanced import” option, choose your import specifications, and/or make the required changes.

Steps to import multiple (up to 10) Google Ads accounts:

  1. To import more than one Google Ads account, go to your manager account from the global menu and click on “Import” in the top menu, then “Import from Google Ads.”
  2. Choose your preferred Microsoft Advertising account to receive the imports and sign in to Google Ads. Follow prompts to give Microsoft Advertising permission to import your campaigns.
  3. Use the “Google Ads account name” and “Microsoft Advertising account name” options to select the accounts your imports will move between, and click “Continue” to see the options.
  4. Advanced import” is also where you set up future imports to run on a schedule. Alternatively, set up automatic imports by selecting “Auto” to have Microsoft Advertising optimize your upload schedule. That way you don’t have to repeat the manual import process every time you create new ads and campaigns or make changes. You can go to the page labeled “Import schedule & history” found on the “Import” page to manually run an import or change the schedule at any time.

Pro Tip: Always check to ensure there are no problems with your campaigns and everything is imported properly, as some settings don’t have a direct match. Microsoft Advertising recommends checking your bids, budgets, targeting options, negative keywords, and Quality Score.

group of coworkers collaborating

Microsoft Advertising has announced a ton of new features, improvements, expansions, and updates for the Audience Network in just the last year alone. (Image: Rawpixel)

How to create a Microsoft Advertising display campaign

  1. ​​Go to the left-hand collapsible menu and click “All campaigns,” then “Campaigns” and “Create campaign,” where you’ll set the campaign goal.
  2. Select Audience Ads (Microsoft’s Audience Network is their Google Display Network equivalent). This includes display ads for Bing, AOL, Yahoo!, Xbox, MSN, and more. The campaign creation wizard will walk you through the steps.
  3. The wizard will take you through the campaign settings like detailing your maximum daily budget, creating an ad group, audience settings, and other details. (Ads will be responsive, so the preview won’t be what the audience always sees exactly, but it should be more or less the same.)
  4. When you’re done adding all the necessary details, create another ad or click “Save & go to the next step” to finish. Once you save, (barring any errors) your ad will appear on the Microsoft Audience Network.

Microsoft Advertising best practices

  • Familiarize yourself with the latest text and ad style guidelines to avoid problems and get the best results.
  • When picking an audience, pay attention to the estimated reach displayed so you don’t make your audience too small. Try to stay above 10,000.
  • Microsoft’s AI will be observing and adapting to the data generated by your campaign to optimize it, but this takes time. That’s why it’s wise to let your campaign run for at least a week or two before making any changes.
  • Ensure you’re tracking properly, analyze often, and adjust your campaigns as needed. 

Helpful recent updates

Microsoft Advertising has announced a ton of new features, improvements, expansions, and updates for the Audience Network in just the last year alone. 

Here are some of the top highlights.

  • Integral Ad Science: Thanks to a partnership with Integral Ad Science, your brand is safer than ever from landing on a page that could negatively affect your brand’s perception.
  • Dynamic remarketing: Using data about what products customers have interacted with, dynamic retargeting ads will be more effective.
  • In-market audience data improvement: They’ve refined the data available on in-market audiences you’ve targeted to provide specific insights.
  • Automated bidding: Automated bidding is finally coming to the Audience Network. Previously available exclusively to search ads, the feature finally expanded.
  • Automatic opt-in for campaign recommendations: Recommendations to improve ad campaigns will be automatically applied. While this won’t increase your budget, it will make changes. Search Engine Land covered ways to monitor the changes and opt out if you want.
  • View-through conversions: Get more accurate conversion data with the ability to track users who account for an ad impression and convert sometime down the line.
  • Market Expansions: The audience network now stretches across 25 countries with more on the way.
  • Similar Audiences: The U.S. now has access to similar audiences to target likely customers based on their similarities to existing ones.

The takeaway

The name change from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising represented the brand’s shift from search ads to so much more. 

Between the often-lower cost per click and the purchasing power of this demographic, the Bing display ads audience is an opportunity that’s at least worth exploring for nearly all businesses. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2021.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on May 7 , 2021

It’s not Google, but it’s bigger and more powerful than you think.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How Microsoft Advertising’s paid search ads work
  • How the platform stacks up against Google
  • What makes Microsoft Ads unique
  • The benefits of leveraging both platforms

Spring is the time for new beginnings. That’s why spring-cleaning became “a thing” — there’s no better season to refresh your surroundings. The same can also be said for your brand’s paid search (or PPC) marketing strategy.

In the spring of 2019, Bing Ads rebranded to Microsoft Advertising. (Bing is Microsoft’s search engine — its own version of Google.) And with the rebranding came a larger emphasis on things like AI and personalization, as Search Engine Land noted.

Here’s a look at what Microsoft Advertising has to offer, whether you’re interested in leveraging the platform in your paid search initiatives or just want to know more about how it stacks up against Google.

Microsoft Advertising 101: What You Need to Know

Like Google Ads, Microsoft also has an offline editor desktop application for bulk changes and updates. (Image via Unsplash)

Getting started with Microsoft Advertising

The Microsoft Search Network reportedly reaches 7.3 billion monthly searches. (Yes, that’s billion with a “b.”) Its search ad options allow businesses to target those searching on the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL platforms. This gives Microsoft Advertising a combined 33% of the total U.S. search market share — even higher for desktop searches. Microsoft Ads also give you access to 63 million search users that can’t be reached via Google Ads.

Microsoft Advertising offers its customers opportunities for training certifications and expert webcasts, along with in-depth audience and marketplace insights.

Signing up for a Microsoft Ads account is free, and they’ve made the process pretty seamless. You create your ad with text, a URL, and extensions (which can include images, reviews, and the like). Next, determine your ad bid, budget, and keywords you want to target.

From there, track your performance, conversion rates, and goals, then iterate as needed.

Pro tip: Microsoft’s conversion tracking is set up using a Universal Event Tracking (UET) pixel to collect data for conversion tracking and retargeting, similar to the Google Ads global site tag setup.

Google Ads vs. Microsoft Ads

Both Google and Microsoft offer paid search ads that can work on multiple devices and allow you to choose your reach — from a small radius around your brick-and-mortar location (if you have one) to a global scale. They also both have ad extensions, feed-based ads, and shopping campaign options.

Like Google Ads, Microsoft also has an offline editor desktop application for bulk changes and updates. (Amazon Advertising, as well as social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, don’t have these, which can make setup more difficult.)

It’s understandable that Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising have plenty in common. They both aim to serve relevant ads to searchers using their platforms, help businesses attract the right prospects, and ultimately get them more leads. But there are a few key differences between these platforms that are worth noting.

Ready to explore more paid search opportunities for your business? Let’s talk.

The Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising networks both cover PPC as well as display ads. While the Microsoft Advertising display network is smaller, covering only their own consumer properties such as Xbox, MSN, Windows OS, Microsoft Edge, and Outlook, it does reach nearly a billion unique monthly users based on the total reach of each platform. Plus, those channels have some of the highest visibility scores industry-wide.

The two platforms also use slightly different terminology in some areas. For instance, while Google refers to both cost of conversion and cost per acquisition (CPA), Microsoft sticks to CPA. While Google refers to ad headings as “headlines,” Microsoft Advertising calls them “titles.”

In the fall of 2019, Google announced they were sunsetting its “Average Position” metric. (This shows your ad’s position in relation to other ads on the search engine results page, or SERP.) The metric is still available from Microsoft.

Pro tip: Both Google and Bing allow for up to 90 characters in their ad description fields.

HawkSEM - Microsoft Advertising 101: What You Need to Know

Got a winning Google campaign? Then you’ll probably see success on Bing too. Why not do both? (Image via Unsplash)

What makes Microsoft Ads unique

A key stat that might interest companies: Microsoft Search Network visitors spend approximately 30% more money online than the average web searcher. Not only that, but more than half of searchers have an estimated income of $75,000 or more, with generally higher household incomes and more high-level jobs than Google overall.

While Microsoft searches account for just over a third of all desktop searches, brands are likely to find their paid search ads have less competition than they do on Google. Plus, Microsoft Ads can cost up to 70% less than Google Ads.

Microsoft recently rolled out a new feature that will automatically create new variations of your existing ads and apply the suggestions for you. This is a bit controversial, but you can opt out in your settings if you choose. They also recently introduced automotive ads (still in beta) in the U.S and U.K.

Plus, the ad platform uses LinkedIn data to target groups of users based on information in their professional profiles. This is especially appealing to B2B brands looking to target those with specific job titles.

Microsoft Advertising has robust targeting options. Its user intent targeting includes:

  • Remarketing
  • In-market audiences
  • Custom audiences
  • Product audiences
  • Similar audiences

Other targeting types include:

  • LinkedIn profile
  • Age & gender
  • Location
  • Device

Pro tip: Fit Small Business reports that Bing (Microsoft Advertising) specializes in targeting the retail and financial industries, which makes the search engine an ideal marketing option for brands in these niches.

Benefits of using both Google and Microsoft ads

Got a winning Google campaign? Then you’ll probably see success on Bing too. Why not do both?

Microsoft makes it easy to import your Google campaigns onto its own search platform. Not only can this increase your exposure, but you may find a promising Google search campaign does even better on Bing. Plus, you can now schedule imports on a recurring basis, so you can optimize in Google and carry the changes to Microsoft without doing double the work.

If you’re in a particularly saturated market or find yourself having trouble sourcing quality leads on Google, Bing could be the answer you’re looking for. Companies that are scraping the corners of Google trying to think of new keywords and ads to get new leads are the ones that often find that carrying over their branded ads to Bing results in more leads.

In April 2021, Microsoft rolled out a bevy of new features, including the global release of API support for Google Import, countdown customizers for RSAs, 60 new in-market audiences and more, according to Search Engine Journal.

Pro tip: In May 2021, Microsoft announced that they’d begin to “expand phrase match to include broad match modifier [BMM] traffic,” according to Search Engine Land. They also report that “advertisers will no longer have the ability to create new BMM keywords beginning in August 2021.”

The takeaway

The Google brand is basically synonymous with online searching, especially in the United States. But there are plenty of additional opportunities for reach, leads, and sales to be had from the Microsoft side of searches as well.

Particularly when it comes to exclusive partners, cheaper clicks, and getting an edge in a competitive industry, you may be surprised at the paid search results you get outside of Google’s platform. 

After all, your competitors are probably on Google, but they may not be on Bing. There’s certainly something to be said for being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

This article has been updated and was originally published in April 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 21 , 2021

Here’s how to improve your site and reach more of your target audience with Bing Webmaster Tools.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why marketers should pay attention to Bing
  • What Bing Webmaster Tools are all about
  • Benefits of using Bing Webmaster Tools
  • How to get started with these tools

Living in Google’s shadow is tough. But while Microsoft’s search engine Bing may not pull quite the numbers that Google does, it’s still worth your attention as a digital marketer.

That’s because Bing attracts almost a billion unique monthly visitors itself. Meaning, it’s possible that a large segment of your target audience uses or has used Bing for searching. 

Bing Webmaster Tools is the search engine’s own version of Google Search Console. Armed with a user-friendly interface, the service allows you to manage your website, improve SEO efforts, and more.

girl in chair on computer

While Bing owns a little over 6% of the search engine market share, it’s still a powerful engine with high potential. (Image via Unsplash)

Why Bing can’t be ignored

In the race to win the top spots on Google’s result pages, many companies overlook the power of Bing. Here are a few points to consider when deciding whether to dig deeper into Bing and its Webmaster Tools:

  • Bing is the default search engine for all Microsoft devices (that’s more than a billion just for Windows 10).
  • Bing is behind voice searches by Cortana and Alexa.
  • They partner with smaller search engines like Yahoo, AOL, and DuckDuckGo.
  • Bing has highly optimized image and video search features that some say are better than Google’s.
  • The majority of Bing’s visitors are in the 45-54 age range, which allows you to reach certain parts of your audience that can be less accessible on Google.
  • Bing has a less expensive (about 30%) CPC than Google Ads.
  • More than 500,000 advertisers work with Bing.

While Bing owns a little over 6% of the search engine market share, it’s still a powerful engine with high potential.

What is Bing Webmaster Tools?

Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service that allows you to add your website to Bing’s crawlers to improve visibility and climb to the search engine’s top result pages. It also helps you manage your website’s presence and monitor its condition.

Webmaster Tools also lets you obtain and analyze important information about your website’s health and optimization. This includes:

  • Conducting keyword research
  • Receiving warnings about the safety of your website (e.g. malware, spam)
  • Figuring out how many webpages are indexed by Bing
  • Monitoring and analyzing your backlinks
  • Checking which keywords your website ranks for on Bing
  • Finding out how Bing crawls and indexes your website
  • Submitting new pages to be crawled
  • Removing content you don’t want to index with the Content Removal tool
  • Submitting sitemaps to Bing
  • Creating a customized crawling pattern (with the Crawl Control option)
  • Notifying Bing about low-quality links pointing to your website
  • Connecting the website to your corresponding social media accounts
  • Connecting your website to your app, if applicable
  • Analyzing your site’s efficiency on the search engine and specific pages to improve SEO performance

When it comes to SEO, it could be argued that Bing Webmaster Tools is more advanced in some ways than Google Search Console. You can perform a variety of SEO-related tasks without leaving the dashboard or relying on external tools.

bing webmaster tools dashboard

A look at the keyword research section of the Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard. (Image via Bing)

Key benefits of using Bing Webmaster Tools

Besides offering a comprehensive set of tools for website analysis and SEO, Bing Webmaster Tools come with a variety of other benefits for digital marketers.

A user-friendly interface

Bing has created a user-friendly all-encompassing dashboard that rivals (if not surpasses) Google’s. You can get a full view of all the necessary settings and parameters with just one glance. While seemingly a small benefit, this feature can save you a lot of time when looking for specific information.

High-quality reporting tools

Another time-saving feature offered by Bing is comprehensive reporting. Here’s a look at the reports offered by Bing.

  • Page traffic report: Page-level search performance metrics for the top pages in organic search
  • Site explorer: Information about the number of URLs discovered by Bing, URLs that appear on search results, and number of clicks received from search results
  • Keyword search report: List of keywords (from organic search) that drive impressions and clicks to your website
  • SEO reports: SEO analysis of your website and recommendations to improve search engine visibility
  • Mobile-friendliness report: A list of areas that need improvement to comply with Bing’s best mobile-friendliness practices
  • Crawl information report: An indication of crawl errors on your website

Bing Business Listings (Bing Places)

Bing Places is the search engine’s version of Google My Business. You can claim and manage your business listings directly from the Webmaster Tools dashboard. This simple shortcut can save you time spent managing listings and improves your local SEO efforts.

Pro tip: You can easily import your Google Search Console and Google My Business listings and profiles to set up Bing Webmaster Tools and Bing Places.

runner at starting line

Getting started with Bing Webmaster Tools is mostly intuitive, especially if you have experience with Google Search Console. (Image via Unsplash)

Getting started with Bing Webmaster Tools

Getting started with this service is easy. Just go to the Bing Webmasters homepage and click “get started.”  You can sign up using your existing Microsoft, Google, or Facebook account.

The first thing to do is submit your website’s URL to Bing. From there, you can verify the ownership of your website through one of the following options:

  • XML file authentication
  • Meta tag authentication
  • CNAME record via hosting provider

The instructions on how to do it will show up on the screen once you choose the method. When the verification is complete, you can upload your sitemaps and start using the service.

Getting started with Bing Webmaster Tools is mostly intuitive, especially if you have experience with Google Search Console.

The takeaway

Bing is the second-largest search engine in the world. Ignoring it could mean failing to reach certain segments of your target audience and falling behind the competition.

Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console and, in some ways, it’s better. Bing did an excellent job creating a comprehensive, user-friendly, report-filled service that allows you to manage your website and improve its visibility.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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