When it comes to Pay Per Click advertising (PPC), there is no doubt that Google AdWords is the leading player, with a UK market share of 88% for desktop searches. However, Microsoft’s Bing Ads is steadily increasing its reach, recently passing the 10% mark and slowly chipping away at AdWords’ dominance.

One thing to note is that Bing Ads aren’t solely limited to the Bing search engine, as Microsoft’s partnership with Yahoo and AOL ensures that they appear on search results across all three platforms – taking the combined reach over the 10% point.

Why should you care about that 10%?

Since the rolling out of Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge, Bing is set as the default search engine for multiple devices, meaning that users wanting to switch to Google have to do so manually. Thus, there are now more eyes on Bing than ever before, accounting for its growing presence (in 2013 Bing’s UK market share was just 4.88%).

As time goes on and with the continued rise of Windows-powered mobiles devices, that 10% is likely to keep growing, and seeing as Windows 10 has already been downloaded 67 million times, the potential number of Bing users worldwide is exponential.

Who uses Bing?

A recent study profiling search engine users found that Bing is more popular with females and that the demographic tends to be more mature, 35-years and over. This is interesting in terms of ROI, especially regarding e-commerce, as this age group typically produces higher earnings, meaning that their carts are likely to total a higher value.

So, if your target market is females over the age of 35, then you can build a strong case for being on Bing.

Lower cost-per-click

While AdWords will put your campaign in front of a much larger audience, Bing’s cost-per-click (CPC) is on average 33.5% cheaper than Google, due to fewer competitors bidding on the same keywords. This, in itself, could be reason enough to justify experimenting with Bing Ads, and fewer advertisers also means that your click-through rates (CTR’s) are likely to be higher.

Bing’s lower CPC is especially advantageous for businesses looking to get the most out of PPC advertising on a smaller budget, and it is a factor that should certainly be taken into consideration when deciding where your money is best spent.

Picture perfect

If your brand or product line is very visual, then Bing Ads has a definite advantage; its unique Image Extension enables photos to appear in-line with your search ads, allowing you to showcase your wares in the most eye-catching way.

Writing compelling ad text is always challenging, which is why most companies outsource campaigns to professional PPC agencies, but inserting pictures can attract more clicks, acting as a shortcut with users able to see exactly what you have to offer – perfect if they’re searching for specific products.

You can upload up to six images alongside your ad copy, and with studies suggesting that 65% of people are visual learners, you may find that utilising this feature becomes very profitable.

Import functionality

If you’re currently running AdWords campaigns and are looking to expand your reach with Bing, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s relatively straightforward to get the ball rolling. On the Bing Ads menu there is a category titled ‘Import campaigns’, with a dropdown that allows you to select ‘Import from Google AdWords’ – turning a potentially onerous task into a swift and simple one.

That being said, to really make use of Bing’s unique features (such as Image Extensions) you should take time to optimise your campaigns accordingly, not relying solely on the default import settings.

When it comes to PPC, AdWords is still very much the market leader with an incredible reach, but it can’t be denied that the influence of Bing Ads is on the up. AdWords will naturally remain the first port of call for the majority of PPC marketers, but the medium of paid search always encourages experimentation, with multiple factors that can be edited and refined until they deliver the best results.

Therefore, it would foolish to completely ignore Bing Ads, and you may well find that casting your net over both platforms allows you to catch more customers.

Thomas Coppen

Thomas Coppen


Thomas Coppen, UK Director, Keel Over Marketing.