Google AdWords vs. Bing Ads: Which Should I Do?

When it comes to pay per click and the choices you have for providers, you might wonder which advertising platform to use. Fret not: there are only a few major U.S. companies offering paid search and display ads online, and they can all offer a return on investment.

The good news is, you don’t have to choose one over the other. It’s important though to know what to expect when you’re advertising on Google AdWords versus Bing Ads (the Yahoo-Bing network aka “BingHoo”). The results won’t be equal. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

PPC Performance: Google vs. Bing Ads

There are so many factors that go into a successful PPC campaign, but understanding market share is important when tallying the ROI. First and foremost, you can expect Google AdWords to drive the majority of traffic to your site when compared to the Yahoo Bing network combined.

This data closely mirrors what you can expect to see with organic, non-paid traffic as well, because Google has the majority of search engine share. More people use Google; therefore, more people will see ads on Google.

So it’s safe to say that advertising on the Google network is a no-brainer. But where some people question investment is on the Yahoo Bing side. Bing says the numbers are promising, citing the Yahoo Bing network is comprised of searchers that are likely to spend 5.4 percent more than Google searchers, according to comScore data:

Making Decisions About PPC Investment

If you don’t currently advertise online, your Google Analytics is a good place to start collecting data on which engines will drive visibility. Look at your organic traffic data and see which search engines are driving traffic.

The amount of organic traffic going to the site is a general indicator of the audience size that may be exposed to your ads on that search engine. Again, you’ll notice share of traffic skews towards Google, but some businesses can see more traffic coming from Bing than others.

(For example, if the type of products or services sold align with the demographics of a particular search engine, the ROI can be much greater; Bing and Yahoo can draw an older crowd therefore if your target market is older than advertising here should be a win.)

If you’re already running ads on Google, you can test ads on the Yahoo Bing network before deciding to pursue full force. Take the best-performing AdWords campaigns and try them out on Yahoo-Bing.

Sometimes you’ll see great success, and sometimes you’ll know fairly quickly if the network isn’t right for your products or services.

AdWords vs. Bings Ads ROI

When it comes to ad spend, if you’re pursuing all three advertising outlets, you can expect to devote about a third or less of your advertising investment on the Yahoo Bing network. In our experience, the percentage of revenue coming from Yahoo Bing advertising overall runs about 1 to 5 percent of the total ad revenue on average.

This screenshot shows a typical ratio of revenue coming from the various channels, including paid and organic across Google, Bing and Yahoo*:

Web Channel ROI

*Bing ads (Yahoo and Bing ) will be reported as “bing/cpc” in Google Analytics.

One thing to note is that in our experience, the ROI coming from Yahoo Bing PPC tends to fluctuate, whereas AdWords seems to be more consistent, showing numbers we can come to count on – be it good or bad.

And even though AdWords can be a big part of a website’s traffic and conversions, keep in mind that sometimes the Bing advertising network can actually yield more return per dollar spent, depending on the business of course.

Google AdWords vs. Bing Ads Features

When it comes to the latest and greatest features for advertisers online, Google AdWords is the leader. That’s not to say that Bing doesn’t have some of the same functionality. But, over the years, it’s been a game of catch up; Google comes out with something new, and Bing trails behind, eventually offering that same feature to its advertisers.

Bing sums up major differences between the Yahoo Bing network and AdWords here, covering the following areas:

  • Budgeting
  • Ad Text
  • Negative Keywords
  • Targeting
  • Quality Score

So our final word on which advertising network you should choose when it comes to AdWords versus Yahoo Bing is don’t choose – try them all! Advertisers old and new must test and experiment. This is an important part of making informed decisions. As your campaigns age, your search marketing wisdom grows, and hopefully, so does your business.