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Today, when competition in the world of online advertising is increasingly fierce, marketing agencies have access to many tools to achieve their chosen goals and reach different target groups. In addition to channels such as social media, search engines and advertising networks built around them play an important role. The two most important ones that occupy a significant portion of the market are Google and Bing.
Google and Google Ads
The most popular search engine on the Internet is by far Google. More than 90% of users worldwide use this search engine. In addition to fulfilling its primary function of being able to search for websites based on the search terms you type in, it also allows you to see and view ads. Ads appear in a variety of places, but we most often see them among search results.
No one needs to be told that Google Ads is the market leader. This is evidenced by the fact that almost every company operating online uses ads on this platform. In 2022 alone, the ads brought the corporation nearly $225 billion in revenue – by comparison, Bing Ads earned “only” $12 billion for Microsoft in the same period.
Microsoft and Bing Ads
The second most popular search engine in the world is Bing. About 3% of Internet users chose Microsoft’s product. In fact, Bing is closer in terms of number of users to propaganda tools such as YANDEX (in Russia) or Baidu (in China), but it has the advantage of almost global reach. Like Google, we can use Bing in almost any country in the world. The operation of the search engine is similar to Google’s, so it should come as no surprise that the advertising system works similarly as well. Microsoft’s ad network, however, is much smaller, not including YouTube or Gmail, for example. Bing, on the other hand, is the primary Windows search engine, which makes some users use it instinctively. This is worth keeping in mind if you decide to use Bing Ads.
Google Ads versus Bing Ads – Similarities
Because Google Ads operated successfully before Bing, it could be expected to be the main inspiration for the developers of Bing’s ad system. The assumptions are the same, the platform idea almost copied 1:1 – and this should not surprise us, since the product on which the ad system is based is twinned.
Looking at the interfaces after logging into both ad systems, one immediately gets the impression that someone has “written off the homework” from someone else. The top toolbar in the same place, containing virtually the same options. Side menu for campaign configuration, containing the same options. Campaign statistics, customization options… And one could go on for so long. What is certain is that a person who has worked in Google Ads will have no trouble navigating Microsoft’s system. Unless he does not speak English — in October 2023 Microsoft does not allow the use of the panel in Polish.
The process of creating a campaign is almost identical for both platforms. The first step here and here is to choose a campaign objective, which, despite the slightly different naming, are the same. For example, in Google Ads we have “Sales” and in Bing we have “Selling products from your catalog”. “Promote apps” from Google is “Promote your apps and games” or “App installs” in Bing, and “Site traffic” corresponds to “Site visits.”
When we choose a target, we need to choose a campaign type. Here there are subtle differences, which I will describe further on.
There are some subtle differences.
The next steps of creating a campaign differ between platforms in order. For example — we set the rates in Google at the beginning, while in Bing it is the last step. However, almost all the steps are the same. The campaign structure is also the same: Campaign → Ad groups → Ads.
Other similarities when creating a campaign (based on the simplest Search campaign) are:
- Using keywords at the ad group level. We add them when creating a campaign by typing them into the appropriate text field. Both Google and Bing can tell us the words by analyzing the page whose address we enter.
- Ad extensions / components On both platforms, we can use “extensions” that affect the content of our ads. Overlapping extensions include:
- Site links / Sitelink Extensions;
- Explanations / Callout Extensions;
- Promotions / Promotion Extensions;
- Prices / Price Extensions;
- Information / Structure Snippet Extensions;
And many others, the creation of which is very similar for both
- Language, location and budget All this is set at the campaign level (in the Demand Gen campaign in Google Ads, location and budget are set at the ad group level).
- Strategies for setting rates. There are no major changes here either. Both platforms will allow us to use similar strategies, such as:
- Maximizing the number of clicks;
- Maximize conversions;
- Target ROAS;
- Target CPA;
- Target display share;
- CPC / Improved CPC;
- Creating ads In both Google and Bing, we can create dynamic campaigns (DSA) and standard flexible campaigns. In the case of DSA ads in Google, we can create the ad texts ourselves, while in Bing the whole thing is generated dynamically. Flexible campaigns require us to prepare the texts, headlines and other content we want to use.
Materials that we use in creating ads must meet the relevant conditions. In both cases, the headline is a text of up to 30 characters, and the description (or text of the ad) should be up to 90 characters.
The guidelines also apply to images. Prepared graphics must be of appropriate quality and in the formats:
- 1:1 (square);
- 1.91:1 (panorama);
The above formats apply to both platforms. Bing also allows at home to use images in rectangular formats: 1.78:1; 1.33:1 and 1.5:1.
Importing campaigns from Google Ads to Bing Ads
The fact that the two advertising platforms are almost identical is evidenced by the ability to import campaigns previously created in Google Ads into a Bing account. This feature allows us to copy a campaign from Google with a few clicks and use it in Bing Ads. By importing campaigns, we will copy not only the ads, but also all possible settings, such as location, rate setting strategies or keywords. The option can be found on the top gray bar, it is marked by an arrow icon pointing to the left.
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Google Ads versus Bing Ads — Differences
When Bing Ads appeared on the Polish market, the creators advertised it as a cheaper alternative to Google Ads, which, despite its small market share, may have sales/lead potential. The main advantage here was supposed to be lower CPC rates and higher CTRs. And this was indeed the case for a while, when Bing Ads was still used by very few companies. Currently, the rates and click-through rates are at similar levels, and the only advantage Bing has left is better outreach to B2B markets (probably due to more frequent use of Bing on company computers).
When creating a campaign in Google Ads, we first select its objective and then the campaign type. Depending on the indicated goal, here we have a choice of search network, Performance Max campaigns, Display and others. The same is true for Bing, but this segment is far less advanced – instead of the eight options Google offers, we have only five options:
- Search ads;
- Audience ads;
- App installs;
- Smart Shopping;
- Standard Shopping;
For the two goals (App and Game Promotion and Display Ads), we do not choose the type of campaign — it is imposed and based on the above.
It is worth stopping for a moment at “Audience Ads” – it is the equivalent of “Google Ad Network”, but much less elaborate and with a narrower scope.
When running E-commerce, product ads are often the tool that drives sales in our store. To use them, however, we need to provide the platform with product information. In the case of Google Ads, we will use an external tool such as Google Merchant Center Microsoft has placed its product management center on the same platform as the ads, and access to it can be found in the top menu with tools. Adding a product file is very similar in both cases. The structure requirements are also identical, so we can use the same product file on Google and Bing. And if that weren’t enough, Bing allows you to import files from Google Merchant Center into your tool.
Integrations with other platforms
The logical thing is that Google’s product will be easy to integrate with other Google products, and Bing’s with other Microsoft products. As a result, we have no problems importing conversions from Google Tag Manager into Google Ads, and the data in Google Analytics mostly coincides with that in the ad management platform. The situation is different when integrating with third-party platforms. Google Ads, as it dominates the market and has been available for a long time, boasts integration with more than four thousand external tools. Bing in this case lags far behind.
Which platform should I choose?
If you run a small business and your advertising budget is not in the tens of thousands, then focus on Google Ads, possibly aided by Facebook ads. If, on the other hand, your company spends higher amounts on marketing, then you should at least direct a small part of your budget towards the Microsoft platform. It may turn out that, just in case of your industry, Bing Ads will be a cheaper or more effective channel than Google Ads. Admittedly, its reach is much lower, but it may be that among your target group Bing has a higher share than the average 3-5%.
Good advice is to start with Google. If we want to test Microsoft’s product, we can easily import most of the settings from Google Ads to Bing Ads. In the other direction, at this point such a possibility simply does not exist.
Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.