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Running Paid Ads with Bing


Since Google is the search giant, most marketers look to the AdWords network for their paid campaigns.  It seems to be a given for large companies especially to run some type of ad with AdWords – whether it is search, display, or a combination of both.

Even though Google seems to own search, Bing should not be ignored when it comes to cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns.  There are a number of advantages to this network in addition to your Google audience.  The obvious case for Bing is to reach searchers who are not on Google.  Yes, it is true.  Some people do prefer the Bing network for searching so perhaps you should be there too so you do not miss out on this potential goldmine of new customers.  Before jumping in with a Bing campaign, here are some considerations when spending marketing dollars there.

Less costly CPCs

Compared to AdWords, CPCs are frequently lower for keywords on Bing.  With a lower CPC for valuable keywords, this is a way to make marketing dollars go further – especially in verticals where CPC is incredibly expensive.  If you cannot afford to bid on your preferred keyword in AdWords, check the keyword cost in Bing.  You may be able to earn a decent ranking for your phrase on Bing that is very difficult to do on AdWords.  Small businesses with a very limited ad budget especially need to explore CPCs on Bing.

Higher Conversion Rates

Not only could you pay less for each click, but you may find that users who do click are more engaged with your website.  This gets to the true value of a click.  It is one thing to get people to your website, but it is more important to know what they do once they arrive.  If you use both AdWords and Bing, the way to test which is better for conversions is of course to look in your analytics account.   In analytics, view the traffic sources and specifically compare traffic for paid Google traffic and paid Bing traffic.  How does user behavior change based on the CPC source?  The best way to find out which source has a higher conversion rate is through the use of data for your site specifically.


Another feature savvy AdWords users take advantage of is the Opportunities tab. Those are suggestions from Google on keyword and bid adjustment recommendations they believe could benefit your campaign.  Marketers should never blindly add all of Google’s suggestions to campaigns.  Since they are automated suggestions, the keyword may not be relevant to your business or their suggested bid for a keyword is significantly higher than the amount you find is a good bid for you.  Although they should be reviewed first, there are often at least a few suggestions that are worth adding to an account.

Opportunities are also available in Bing at the top of the screen.  Bing’s opportunities offers insight on budgets and keyword match types in addition to what is found in AdWords opportunities with keywords and bids.  You can preview what would change in the ad if you used any of their suggestions.

Granular Bids

Bing has a bit of an edge over AdWords with the granularity of the bidding options.  Bids can be adjusted based on geographic location for ad groups as well as for ad scheduling, demographics, and devices.  It  may be more than what is needed for the most basic campaigns, but it is nice to know this feature is available as campaigns grow more complex.

Import from AdWords

The ability to import campaigns from AdWords saves some time when getting started with Bing.  However, it is not an excuse to be lazy!  Although it is helpful to get initial ad copy and keywords into a Bing account with importing, marketers still need to take the time to adjust keyword bids and ads once they are there.

Some Considerations

With a smaller share of the market, there will also be a lower search volume when compared to AdWords.  Do not be surprised about a smaller amount of traffic in your Bing campaigns compared to your AdWords campaigns.  Going back to analytics again, focus on metrics such as CPC, click-through rate (CTR), and of course the behavior once a search arrives on a site.

There are also some frustrations with the user interface.  It is not as user-friendly as AdWords, especially when looking at search queries within a campaign or adding negative keywords.  There are a couple extra steps that users do not have to do when in AdWords.  None of these minor frustrations are a deal breaker though.  Just be know that AdWords is more advanced than Bing (at the moment) when it comes to their ads interface.

The bottom line is that allocating some of your AdWords dollars into a Bing campaign can bring a nice return.  It never hurts to test with a small budget to determine if this is the right move for your business.

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