Google Adwords and Bing Ads are the two leading PPC ad networks out there, and for good reason. They both deliver high volumes of quality traffic to advertiser sites worldwide. While these two PPC platforms are similar in many ways, they also have differences when you get into the details.
Below are some of the key differences Google Adwords and Bing Ads:
Ad Placement/Traffic Source
Buying ads through Google Adwords will get your ads displayed on the Google Search or Content Network.
Buying ads through Bing Ads means your ads will be shown on the Bing/Yahoo Search or Content Network.
Google only allows you to set your location targeting at the campaign level.
Bing allows you to set your location targeting at both the campaign and ad group level.
Google Adwords allows you specific times of the day you want your ads running. You can schedule the ad to run on a per hourly basis.
Bing Ads also gives you some control over when your ads are displayed, but they don’t get as granular as Google. You can choose to the ad schedule in blocks of 5 hours. For example, you could set up your ad group to not run during the hours of 11PM to 4AM, but you couldn’t pick a one hour time frame.
Setting a Budget
Google Adwords allows you to set a daily campaign budget, but not a monthly budget. Their work-around this limitation is to take your monthly budget and divide it by 30.4 days, and set that as your daily budget.
Bing Ads gives you the option to set both a daily and a monthly budget, which gives you more control over your spend.
Bing Ads gives you more control over your bids. You can increase or decrease your ad group bids down to demographics, type of device, user location, and more. Google doesn’t.
Text Ad Description
When setting up text ads, Google limits the ad description to 70 characters divided into two separate lines.
Bing Ads puts a limit of 71 characters for the ad description but only uses a single line field. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but you may be able to squeeze in a few extra characters since you don’t have to split up the verbiage into two lines.
Keyword Match Types
Google and Bing have always done things a little bit differently and the way they handle keyword matches is no exception. For example, if you were bidding on a broad match of “green frogs,” Google will display your ad for the terms “green” or “frog,” while Bing Ads would not. You could say that Bing is more precise with keyword matches.
In August of this year, Google announced that they were no longer supporting exact or phrase match. Replacing it, is close variant matching which pretty much qualifies your ads for all close variations of your keyword. This close variant feature was introduced in 2012, but before you were able to opt out of it. Now, you have no choice.
Just like organic search, these two companies do things a bit differently when it comes to calculating quality scores for certain pages.
Google does not allow you to see which websites are sending you traffic if you have opted in to the content network.
With Bing Ads, you are able to pull reports that show you exactly where your traffic is coming from. This transparency allows you to analyze your traffic/conversions and remove certain sites that are not working out for you.
Google search volume is much higher than Bing’s, roughly about 3 times as much.
On average across most industries, Bing Ad’s CPC (cost-per-click) is considerably lower than Google Adwords.
On average across most industries, Google Adwords provides a higher CTR (click-through rate) than Bing Ads.
This is one area where Bing Ads wins hands down. In my experience, it has been a lot easier to reach someone at Bing Ads by phone than it is Google. Also, the response times for email tends to be faster at Bing Ads.
Google Adwords only accepts credit card payments.
Bing Ads accepts both credit card and PayPal (US residents).
Hopefully that sheds more light on two of the world’s top PPC ad networks. It’s hard to say that one is better than the other because both have their pros and cons.
I know people always want make this into a Google vs Bing thing, but for me, I look at them as two separate but good sources of traffic.
Just remember to give it a chance. Sometimes, people try it out for a week or two without optimizing their campaigns, and then just give up. You don’t set it and forget it with PPC. You have fine tune it. Tweak your targeting. Add or remove keywords. Track conversions. There’s a lot attention to detail that goes into optimizing a PPC campaign.