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Don’t forget Microsoft Ads! Why other search engines are important for PPC strategies

As Jane Austen so poignantly put it way back in 1813...

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good PPC marketing strategy, must be in want of a solid understanding of Bing Ads.

...Or something like that. I’ve not read Pride and Prejudice myself.

Google controls over 90% of the global online search market. That’s insane. It isn’t surprising, then, that even highly experienced marketers tend to forget about the other players out there when it comes to online advertising. Most notable amongst these is Bing, the second most popular search engine in the world.

 

Microsoft Advertising

Bing is owned by Microsoft, who offer Microsoft Advertising, a PPC advertising service available on both the Bing and Yahoo! search engines. Microsoft Advertising was known as Bing Ads until April 30th, 2019, the rebrand coming mere months after Google itself caused untold outrage with Google AdWords’ controversial metamorphosis into Google Ads.

Despite Google’s unequivocal dominance, Bing still owns a 24% share of the US search market, including 34% of the US desktop search market. That’s a massive number of users your advertising isn’t reaching if you forget about Bing.

Microsoft are obviously doing something right with Bing — but what is it? What gives Microsoft Advertising an edge over Google Ads?

 

Less competition = lower CPC

Google is absolutely teeming with marketers, so you’ll have to pay top dollar to compete with them. The same can’t be said of Bing.

On Microsoft Advertising, the volume of leads is lower because the search volume is lower. This means your investment will go further. Whilst there is, of course, variation from industry to industry, Microsoft Advertising tends to have a lower CPC and a higher CTR.

The trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by marketers. Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2018 found an 11% YOY increase in spending on Microsoft Advertising. This is tangible evidence that Bing is indeed a valuable addition to your digital marketing strategy, not to be left by the wayside.

 

An audience with greater buying power

Bing offers marketers the opportunity to reach a niche audience — an audience who, more specifically, are older, more established and generally wealthier. 71% of Bing users are 35 or older, and one third have a household income of over $100,000.

The ability to reach a demographic with a higher average income helps Bing users generate product interest, build brand awareness and drive sales — especially if they have a luxury or high-end product or service. Bing users are more likely to be established and willing to give your product a chance.

 

Simple implementation

If you’re already utilising Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising isn’t a huge step. You can put as much or as little effort as you choose into your Bing marketing. What’s more, Bing actually gives you the option to import your campaigns directly from Google. You can even schedule when imports take place, as well as customise them. This means you can import your ads without your budgets.

Yes, it may be true that campaigns perform better if you take the time and effort to optimise them specifically for a given platform — but, you can still get by with making similar optimisations in Bing as you have in Google if time is not on your side.

Further, Bing typically lags behind Google when it comes to rolling out new features. This means you can try out Google’s features and see what kind of results (if any) they bring you, before then implementing the same feature in Bing.

 

More inventory = more leads

Bing is natively integrated into Microsoft products, including the Amazon Echo, Skype, Xbox and Office. Six billion searches occur every month on the Bing platform. That’s a massive portion of users you might be missing out on.

Investing in Bing means you’ll also have the opportunity to market on a good number of their partners, including AOL, MSN and Yahoo!, to name a few. More ad placements generally correlate with more leads!

So should I make Bing part of my PPC strategy? That depends.

It’s never worth advertising on every platform purely for the sake of being on every platform. There must always be a reasoned rationale behind every aspect of your digital marketing strategy.

Keep your target audience in mind at all times. If you’re a divorce lawyer, there’s little point in advertising on Snapchat because the demographic is too young. Conversely, there’d be little point in investing in Microsoft Advertising if your primary target demographic is youthful Snapchat users (perhaps you’re a purveyor of gold chains, or rap cassettes, or yo-yos…? I’ve lost track of what the young people are into nowadays).

If you try Bing and find there’s no search volume for your target location and keywords, don’t worry. Not every platform will work for you. The takeaway message is to not forget Bing and Microsoft Advertising. Always consider the platform in the early stages of your PPC marketing strategy planning — and see what happens.

Bing is a great option to try out for size if you’re selling a luxury or high-end product or service or if you’re looking to expand your reach for a lower cost whilst hitting a more established audience. As long as you keep in mind that the volume of leads may not be as high as that of Google, you’re unlikely to be dissatisfied.

Next Steps? If you are keen to include Microsoft advertising in your marketing mix then Push can help (we are also a Select partner for Microsoft). Please get in touch here.

 

Ricky Solanki, Co-CEO at Push Group.

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