7 Ways Bing Ads Beats Google AdWords


It’s the most exciting time of the year at WordStream – annual revenue reports! But we’re not the ones excited about it; the search giants all released their annual revenue reports earlier this month. If you missed the excitement in it all, you can catch all the juicy details here for Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! A quick glance paints a good picture for all 3 companies, but Microsoft proved to have the greatest picture of the three, celebrating a 23%  year over year growth in search advertising.

Bing and Yahoo’s reports paint a really wonderful picture of Bing Ads’ growth this past year. Bing grew to 19.7% of the US search market share and Yahoo saw a 10% increase in paid search clicks over the past year.  And while there’s no doubt that they’re both still underdogs to Google, they’re making strides in areas Google AdWords has been struggling – Google paid search clicks are actually down 11% from this time last year.

google paid clicks growth

So Bing Ads must be doing something right, and it made me wonder, what is Bing doing that Google isn’t? It may surprise some that Bing Ads has some powerful advantages for advertisers that Google simply doesn’t.

1. Bing Ads has less competition and cheaper CPC’s.

Most small and medium-sized businesses see Bing Ads as an afterthought, but they should really consider it sooner. Bing Ads uses a similar auction dynamic as the AdWords auction, so the advertisers on Bing have numerous benefits from a lack of competition, such as better ad positions and cheaper costs per click. Of our extensive managed services clients who were advertising on both Google and Bing, we saw that nearly all had lower search CPC’s on Bing, averaging 33.5% cheaper CPC on Bing. Not only were these clicks cheaper on Bing, but their ads very often were in better positions than their Google counterparts and had higher CTR’s.

2. Bing Ads offers more granular control at the campaign and ad group levels.

Unlike in AdWords, Bing allows you to assign different campaigns different time zones. This makes sophisticated ad scheduling strategies far easier to manage in Bing, particularly if your campaigns reach internationally.

In AdWords, Google makes you set your network, location, ad scheduling, language, and ad rotation settings at the campaign level and ad groups are restricted to their campaign-level settings. Bing Ads, however, opens these options up at the ad group level, allowing you to quickly adjust a setting for a particular ad group without having to go through the hassle of creating a brand new campaign to make the change.

bing vs google

3. Bing Ads has better device targeting options.

Google earned the scorn of the paid search community in 2013 when they forced the migration to enhanced campaigns, where campaigns by default target all desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Users can adjust their bids some for mobile devices, but not for tablets and users can’t opt out of targeting desktop searches.

While Bing plans to remove some targeting options in March, at the moment Bing advertisers can still exclude desktop and tablet traffic from their campaigns. Sophisticated advertisers can even target mobile devices using select operating systems:

bing ads targeting options

In addition to much more robust mobile targeting, Bing also allows you to adjust your bid for tablet users from -20% to +300%:

bing ads advanced targeting

4. Bing Ads offers more transparency and control over search partner targeting.

Google offers paid search advertisers two choices at the campaign level: target Google search, or target Google search and search partners. There’s no in between or alternative. You can’t just target search partners and exclude a particular search partner. You can’t even see which partner engines are driving traffic to your site.

Bing allows users the flexibility of targeting just Bing & Yahoo, just search partners, or both, at the ad group level:

bing ads vs google adwords

Also, you can quickly run a report in Bing to see exactly which search partners are directing this traffic to your site. Navigate to the reports tab and run a “Website URL (publisher)” report to quickly see exactly where your traffic is coming from:

bing ads reports

If you see something in here you don’t like ($82 CPA on msn.com, yikes!), you can even exclude that particular search partner without having to opt out of all the other partner sites. Head back to the campaign settings and add the website as a “website exclusion.”

advanced bing ads settings

5. Bing Ads doesn’t force close variants on you.

In August, Google effectively killed off exact and phrase match keywords as we used to know them by forcing a previously optional “close variant” matching target onto all AdWords accounts. These close variants expanded the reach of these exact and phrase keywords by an estimated 7% by including common misspellings, plurals, and grammatical stemmings of these phrase and exact match keywords. Although this affected a small minority of ~3% of SMB accounts, the reaction among paid search leaders was unilaterally negative.

Although Bing does have the option to include close variant queries as matches, it remains just that: an option. Advertisers can easily opt in or out of close variant matching at the campaign or ad group level:

bing keyword matching options

6. Bing Ads has better social extensions.

Bing began testing automated social extensions in late 2014 by showing the number of Twitter followers an advertiser has next to their ad:

bing ads social extensions

Meanwhile on Google, their social extensions show your Google+ followers, which is a nice idea but no one uses Google+.

adwords social extensions

7. Bing Ads allows you to control search demographics.

Even though AdWords gives us the power to regularly view and control our demographic targeting on the Google Display Network, they leave us in the dark when it comes to search. Currently, Google offers no kind of demographic-based targeting on the search network.

Probably the most innovative and underused offering from Bing Ads is the ability to control which gender and age demographics see your search ads. Demographic targeting can be controlled at either the campaign or ad group level within Bing Ads.

bing ads vs google ads demographics

Users can adjust their bids based on MSN users’ gender and age range from -90% (effectively minimizing their reach of that audience) to +900%. This kind of demographic targeting is particularly powerful for advertisers who know that their product or service is usually purchased by a particular gender or age group.

Bing Ads has a lot of unique advantages for SMBs that Google doesn’t offer [yet!]. If you’re looking to take your Bing Ads account to the next step, try our new Bing Ads Performance Grader to highlight fast and easy ways to reduce wasted spend and attract more, high quality traffic.

About the author:

Mark is a Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.


Hermes Ma
Feb 25, 2015

Re: Google paid search clicks are actually down 11% from this time last year.
Where did you find this? There is only -11% in *Network* in that chart.

David Rothwell
Feb 26, 2015

This is great insight - thanks. Makes me more interested to give Bing a shot.

Google also need to be able to let us schedule ads, at the individual ad level, so we can set run times and expiry dates, instead of (again) scheduling at the campaign level.

Mark Irvine
Feb 26, 2015

Hey David, glad you enjoyed the post.
Ad Scheduling can be a pain in Google, but have you tried ad customizers within Google? They may help you manage your changing ad copy around sale dates, ect.
Otherwise, I'd recommend using some kind of automatic rule to pause / enable ads based off of what you're trying to do.
Best of luck!

Mar 02, 2015

nice. thanks for valuable details. before i never think of this. very useful

Mar 06, 2015

nice information. very likely and interesting post. thanks for nice sharing.

Mar 12, 2015

Good information. Thanks for the share :)

May 12, 2015

We began experimenting with Bing Ads in April, and the results are staggering - using half our Adwords budget, we had just over 400% more conversions (136 adwords, 586 bing). This is using campaigns imported from Adwords.

Support services have also FAR exceeded what what we have experienced with Google.

Elisa Gabbert
May 12, 2015

Wow -- very impressive!!

Elisa Gabbert
May 12, 2015

Jim, would you mind sharing what industry you're in?

Jun 12, 2015

I only Use Bing Now. I strongly Believe that Adwords has gotten to big now. thinking about Google as a whole. Reminds me of the Ma Bell period and time for a breakup maybe. They really do not care about you as a customer, make a mistake and they will suspend you for life and not give you the chance or the reason or really the time of day once you have been flagged to remedy or resolve any mistake. I had already been using Bing and Yes I find CTR is Higher and CPC is lower. Say Goodby Adwords. Goodby Adwords. Hello Bing.

Chioma Anozie
Jun 18, 2015

I must confess I have always looked as Bing as a last resort because I felt Bing might not have a large enough marketplace to display my ads to.

Now, thanks to this article, I am re-thinking. That's because even though Google has a huge audience, their rules can be stifling. I will definitely be giving Bing a trial for my next campaign. Thanks for the heads up.

Jun 20, 2015

I recently hired a leading web marketing company to run a CPC campaign for me. They ran Google and Bing ads for me, I paid $0.80 for a Bing click and $4-5 for a Google click. I told them to turn off Google and run Bing only, they said they would not recommend it. I insisted on turning Google off, and they said "you were the boss we will turn it off for you". Phone rang 5 mins later saying that they cannot turn Google off, because they had an agreement with Google that they have to spend at least 50% of the ad budget on Google ads....................

Sep 15, 2016

May I ask how much do these marketing companies charge and have you seen better success compared to managing the Ads yourself? I tried once and did not get good results. Appreciate if you can provide details on your provider if you are seeing good value add and results

Alex Brener
Jun 28, 2015

Although AdWords doesn't offer "demographic-based targeting" on the search network directly, now you can use Google Analytics lists to segment your search audience to adjust bids for age, gender and more.

Jul 07, 2015

Thanks for the sharing Mark. I'm new to this field and picking up knowledge. This article is very useful. Definitely will find out more and give Bing a try.

Aug 14, 2015

google provides very consistent conversion rates for my campaigns.. around 35%. bing can vary anywhere from 8% to average 18%. Yes, you may be paying less for clicks, but you are getting crap traffic.

Aug 20, 2015

Bing sucks, sorry.

Alejandro Lengua
Oct 01, 2015

MMM.... But how many people use Bing search?
Most people use Google!

Elisa Gabbert
Oct 02, 2015

30% use bing!

Oct 05, 2015

I really liked the way you presented all of the benefits using Bing PPC. I will definitely start to use them more. Thanks!

Stephen C
Oct 09, 2015

The article may have some truth, but Google Adwords, and their team never tried to rip me off in the most blatant and disgusting way like Bing Ads just did. They sent out an email to certain customers who "qualified" for their optimization services. The email apparently said that we were enrolled in this program, and that if we wanted to opt out we could. The program is supposed to optimize our account in some way. I did not see the email (until at least a month later), the email Subject line did not even mention "BING".

The result of this program was that someone with no knowledge of our business, our strategy, or our industry, unpaused a paused campaign, and added horrible broad matching keywords to our account that racked up over $400 worth of charges for what were absolutely useless clicks. Again, we never opted into this program, we were put into it by Bing because they chose to put us in it.

I caught the issue when checking my bank statement and seeing that our ad spend was 3 times previous months. I then logged into my Bing account and was sure our account was compromised. I contacted BING immediately who for days could not give me a straight answer on what had happened. Finally I demanded a supervisor speak to me and they told me about this program. I was shocked and sickened, that they opted us into something like this, something that was going to cost us more money, without our consent. On top of it, the service itself, even if we wanted it, this "optimization" was horribly done.

Just as an example, we sell mens products, one of the broad keywords they added to our account without our consent was a womens product keyword. I mean really? Who wants to rack up charges for something like that?

I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with Bing at this point. They did refund our money for the spend, but that's not enough. It is a horribly deceptive way to get more money out of your customers, opting them into services they never indicated they wanted to, sending an email that says towards the end they need to opt out if they don't want he services. It shows a fundamental and brazen dishonest within the corporation.

Nov 30, 2015

Bing completely sucks. The search/synd traffic is utterly useless because 80% comes from media.net. Even the search traffic, which supposedly comes from Bing and Yahoo, is useless because it actually comes from searchads.msn.com, which is display traffic. And contrary to the article above, you CANNOT turn of msn.com display traffic.

Dec 05, 2015

Thanks for sharing,bing ads is becoming more popular now.

Jun 28, 2016

We preferred to use Bing Ads for our services.

Additional advantages of the Bing Ads:
- Approval of the ads almost immediately. While Google is very long, often lasting several days.

- Allows capital letters and punctuation comfortable, if you want. Google is very strict in this regard.

I also agree with these advantages:
- CPC cheaper
- Classified ads based on gender and devices.
- Position display ads better

Jul 04, 2016

I would caution anyone using Bing Ads to avoid using BROAD match. It's way, way broader than Google. It stretches the definition of a "match" way beyond a synonym or "equivalent expression."

We sell jewelry that is made by one manufacturer. In the middle of April (2016) I set up (a misspelling of) that manufacturer's name as a broad match keyword. For the first 2 weeks it got an average of one click/day, on search terms that pretty much made sense in that they were for the gemstone that the manufacturer is known for.

But then in May, the clicks jumped to up to about 14/day ($600 that month). But then Bing decided that since the manufacturer made jewelry they would match ANY search term that included the word "jewelry" and even some that were more or less synonymous with jewelry.

Then in June, we were up to 24 clicks/day ($1000). Bing stretched the concept of a "match" even further. I'd say that 95% of the clicks were on search terms that had nothing to do with the kind of jewelry that manufacturer made - i.e., they were essentially worthless.

I'm working with Bing to hopefully get a refund for the last 45 days of worthless clicks. That's all they say they'll go back. I can live with that since at first the matches were not as stretched - there were not so many of them.

Anyhow, don't make the same mistake I did. Use phrase match, or at least the modifier (+), and keep an eye on the search terms.

Jul 05, 2016

Bing might be cheaper but the amount of traffic from the search engine is little unlike that of google. It's no surprise why google is expensive and Bing is cheap. But on the other hand you can't ignore Bing despite the little traffic because in some cases it has a better conversion rate than.

Mayank wadhwa
Aug 05, 2016

Bing is cheaper than google and bing shows only relevant searches so bing advertisers has a better change to get good conversion rate than google. Google can provide lots of traffic.

Tony Guo
Sep 19, 2016

It’s great I got unique advantages of Bing Ads for SMBs that Google doesn’t offer.

Dec 16, 2016

Great information on the benefits of Bing Ads compared to Google Adwords. It is often forgotten but the idea of lower CPC's and the demographic controls could be helpful.

Dec 27, 2016

Unfortunately, Adcenter is not less expensive than adwords.
or, at least in the last 6 years I've used both. Almost every keyword I bid on is twice as expensive for the same ad position. Also, the ROI is lower for adcenter and has been trending down for over two years now.

Dec 31, 2016

Very important and useful information , I am now thinking to run my ads on Bing also. Thanks for sharing useful stats.

Bing ads experts
Jan 31, 2017

Location targeting is another area where AdWords gives only one option while Bing offers two. Location targeting in AdWords must be set at the campaign level. Period. With Bing Ads, location targeting is set at the campaign level too. But you’ve also got the option to set target locations at the ad group level (which trumps the campaign-level location settings for this particular ad group), giving advertisers a bit more flexibility.

Apr 21, 2017

Is there BingSense? I want to get paid for ads on my site and i am not interested in paying for ads or placing ads. Yes? No? Mercy bowkoo.

sbtet world
Apr 23, 2017

Very important and useful information , I am now thinking to run my ads on Bing also. Thanks for sharing useful stats.

Jun 22, 2017

Would be nice in a world free of ublock sorry I just don't care for ads paid or otherwise! :P

Jun 28, 2017

Bing Ads is no match to Google Adwords in customer service. Google staff are more competent, better trained and empowered to deal with issues raised by the customer whereas Bing Ads customer service is a joke. A reported problem that takes Google a couple of hours to resolve would take Bing many days if they can fix it at all.

Another issue that bothers me is Bing Ads' mobile app, which crashes all the time. I have been using Adwords' mobile app for a long time but I haven't experienced a single crash.

As a small business owner, I have been advertising on Google since 2002. Despite fierce competition, Google Adwords still delivers good ROI for me. When I stumble, it's always because I fall a sleep at the wheel. If you want a good ROI using Adwords, you must take the time to study the platform and keep up with all the changes, assuming you are a competent businessperson knowing what you are doing.

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