For most marketers working in paid search, it’s intuitive to turn to Google AdWords to make sure their brands get found online. But there’s still a lot of unconquered territory when it comes to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and marketers can take advantage of that.
While Google dominates the search landscape with 80 per cent market share here in Canada, according to comScore Inc., there are still a slew of reasons to look at Bing for keyword research and online advertising, says Andrew Yang, search evangelist at Microsoft Canada. Here’s one of them – in Canada, people do 350 million queries a month through the Yahoo Bing network alone, he says.
We caught up with Yang to hear his thoughts on how marketers can make use of Microsoft’s search engine. After all, it doesn’t hurt to have an alternate search engine to give Google a little competition.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
ITBusiness.ca (ITB): I’ve seen you at a number of marketing conferences here in Toronto. When you go to these conferences, what is the biggest misconception you hear about Bing, among marketers?
Andrew Yang (AY): I think a lot of is that they just don’t think they can get the volume on Bing Ads. They just don’t know our market share, they think they can’t get the reach, so they’re always surprised to hear success stories of people that are advertising on Bing.
First things first, I ask them, when was the last time you used Bing? And a lot of them can’t give me a date. So there’s issue number one. Issue number two would be like, what do you think the market share is like? And again, most of them can’t give me a number.
The number we go with is the comScore number, which is a third-party source. The Yahoo Bing network – what that means is when you buy an ad through Bing Ads, it shows up on Yahoo search and then Bing search. We’re at 10 per cent query share [in Canada], I believe in June. So if you think about that, one in 10 desktop queries are happening on Yahoo and Bing. So that’s a lot of potential traffic that a customer can miss out, if they’re not advertising on Bing Ads.
ITB: I’m sure you get this question all the time. Why should marketers want to choose Bing over Google?
AY: I don’t really look at it as choosing one or the other. I think you should be choosing both. For those that are getting the results that they like on paid search – the way I look at it is, take the results that you want and that you like at Google, and then imagine them being a lot better on Bing.
Our audience is predominantly a lot older. Nearly half of our audience, from a household income perspective, earns $75,000 [a year] or more, they fall under more mature age groups, they’ll be mostly 35 years and older. So a lot of that buying potential that one sees, comparing Bing versus Google, you actually get an audience with the ability to spend more.
So the way I look at it is that if you like [Google] AdWords, try Bing Ads. And then number two, if you’re finding it works, make sure you max out your budget on Bing Ads before you proceed to spend the rest of your budget on Google.
When you look at paid search in general, you’re looking at a conversion funnel. So most people think of paid search as, you’re at the conversion end of the marketing funnel. As such, everything is predominantly a lot more ROI-driven as opposed to a pure brand when they look at cheaper impressions or something like this, or engagement or other factors. If you just do a pure ROI number … what we’ve seen through a lot of our customers is that by far, we have a cheaper Cost Per Action (CPA) than compared to Google. It depends on the vertical.
[TechWyse Internet Marketing, a Toronto-based marketing agency and Bing Ads customer, has found it has a 25 per cent lower cost-per-lead with Bing than with Google, as well as a 35 per cent lower cost-per-click. Yang pointed to the company in a case study.]
ITB: With Bing Ads, people seem to enjoy the fact that there’s a bit less competition in their eyes, versus Google AdWords. How does that play out with Bing Ads?
AY: Most people spend 90 per cent of their time on AdWords and Bing Ads is unfortunately an afterthought. But the really, really smart and savvy agencies, they realize that hey, Bing Ads is out there and gives me a better ROI. As such, I should be doing more of my keyword research, more of my research intelligence based upon Bing Ads.
A classic example here is that Google doesn’t allow you to buy AdWords on really, really big head terms, like ‘dinner.’ So if I do a query for dinner, I can’t go out there and have an ad served. For example, on our network, we actually allow you to buy keywords like ‘dinner,’ ‘lunch’ – a whole wide variety of things.
So you don’t have a lot of competition there, as people are focused on AdWords first with an AdWords-first mentality. But then number two is that when people are actually using Bing Ads, what they do is that their mindset is still in AdWords. So they think that, “Oh, if I can’t bid on the keyword ‘dinner,’ for example, then I cannot bid on that in Bing.” Which is sort of the wrong approach because our ability to bid on more keywords is more expansive than say, Google. So that’s another ability for us to lower the competition in the keywords that are there.
ITB: A lot of people love the Google Keywords Tool when they’re doing keyword research. Do you have something equivalent for Bing that people might like using?
AY: I like Bing Ads Intelligence, and that’s the Excel plug-in that is there. You download that, it’s free, you just create a Bing Ads account. And you go out there and get not just Canada and the U.S. data, but you can pull in data from [over 20 countries]. What does the audience makeup look like, what are some keywords that they might be interested in?
ITB: Are there any tips you’d like to share for a marketer who’s accustomed to using Google AdWords, but is starting to use Bing Ads for the first time and looking for the best ROI out of it?
1. Use the AdWords import feature.
When that will do is it will port all of your AdWords campaigns over … You input your AdWords credentials, and we go and pull all your accounts right to Bing Ads.
And we’ve revamped our Bing Ads [user interface], to mimic the workflow that people see on AdWords. So again, you don’t have to go out there and learn a different platform, your extensions are right there, your porting is right there, just to ease the time of use that search specialists have to do on a day-to-day basis.
2. When you’re first starting off with your campaigns, keep your eyes on it more often in the first week.
A lot of the things that you may expect to happen with Google, may not necessarily happen on Bing. For example, I went to an agency, and they were surprised about the CPA that was there. They had set the CPC to be the same as AdWords, but they were getting a lower CPA on Bing than on Google.
So if you want to go out there and actually make sure you’re in position number one and get the great traffic that is there, by increasing the bids right away, you probably would have gotten more traffic. So that’s probably an element so if you just keep an eye on it in the first week, to make sure you understand what’s happening, that will help ensure that you get the right results.
3. On www.bingplaces.com, you can go out there and claim your business listing.
For a lot of small businesses, price is an issue, sophistication with our tools is a bit of an issue … but if you go to bingplaces.com, you can claim your business listing and ensure that when people are searching for any local information that is there, your business will show up.
You actually ensure that all the information that is there is correct – your phone number, your address, your website. We’ve all had that experience where we’re searching for a local business, and all of a sudden you call the number and the number is out of service, or that the location is not there. It’s frustrating, and it’s one less barrier you can remove from the customers visiting your business.
Corrections: A previous version of this post stated Google’s market share in search was at 67 per cent in Canada. The post has been corrected to state it is 80 per cent. The post also indicated there were 3.5 billion queries each month in Canada through the Yahoo Bing network. There are 3.5 billion queries in total in Canada each month, but 350 million of them are through Yahoo Bing. We regret the errors.