Since the Microsoft Bing search engine was unveiled about a year ago, it has garnered a fair amount of media attention. Much of the attention has revolved around Bing’s potential threat to Google’s market share. It looks like Bing is indeed emerging as a danger to Google. Watch out Google! Bing PPC advertising is gaining ground.
- Overall Bing PPC ads cost less than Google ads. Fewer people are currently advertising on Bing, so the ads are less expensive. With Bing you can pay the same amount or less per click for your ad to rank higher in search results. The downside is that fewer people will see your ads on Bing. But you may end up with a better return on investment on Bing if those who are clicking on your ad are converting.
- You can target age and gender with Bing ads. This is currently not an option with Google AdWords PPC . Bing lets you boost your cost-per-click bids for customers with your target age or gender. For example, you can have Bing increase your bid 10% if someone between the age of 25 and 34 is searching and by 20% if a woman is searching. (Bing can only identify the age and gender of users who are signed into their Windows Live accounts and have included this information in their profiles.)
- Bing includes more sponsored ads at the top of the page. If you conduct the same keyword search on Bing and Google, usually at least one more ad appears above the Bing organic search results. This means that with Bing, the likelihood of your PPC ad appearing at the top of the page is greater.This might not seem like a big deal, but studies show that more people pay attention to ads at the top of the page than ads on the side of the page.
- Bing PPC advertising is currently limited to certain countries. When you go to sign up for Bing advertising in Microsoft adCenter, you must select the country you live in from a drop-down menu. At the moment the only choices are the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom. The only language choices are English and French. Microsoft will likely expand its country and language options, but for the time being many people are not qualified for Bing advertising.
- Bing might have a more user-friendly design. A study conducted last year by the Catalyst Group  suggested that Bing is more user-friendly than Google. Most participants preferred Bing’s visual design and thought it did a better job at organizing and refining options. This may be a good reason to advertise on Bing. If users are enjoying their search experience, they might be more amenable to your ads.
- Bing ads will have a greater reach after the Yahoo merger. Within the next year the Bing and Yahoo search engines  plan to join forces. All Yahoo and Bing advertisers will manage their ad campaigns in Microsoft’s adCenter, and ads will reach users on both of the search engine’s sites and partner sites. Currently, about 15% of U.S. searches are conducted on Yahoo . That represents a lot of potential ground for Bing to cover. If you are not using Bing because of its current limited reach, you may want to consider using it once the merger is enacted.
- Bing’s content network includes sites like the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and FOX Sports. So if you want your ads to appear on any of these sites, you should advertise through Bing as opposed to Google.
- You can import your AdWords campaigns into your adCenter account. It doesn’t appear that AdWords offers this option for adCenter campaigns. This may turn off someone who has an adCenter campaign and wants to easily start a second one in AdWords. But for someone who has an AdWords campaign and wants to easily start a new one in adCenter, he or she should have little difficulty.
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