Growth5 Blog

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Google vs. Bing

This article points out that the partnership between Yahoo! and Bing advertising is set to offer an alternative to Google Adwords this fall.

Question: if a Bing search ad falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, will it get a click? Probably not. This is a chicken and egg problem for the Yahoo!/Bing partnership. Microsoft is counting on Yahoo! increasing its search market share to lure advertisers away from Adwords or at least for advertisers to start including them in their campaigns.

As Microsoft and Yahoo! figure that out, the article gives seven "compelling reasons to give advertising on Bing a shot." Here are the highlights.
1. Bid prices are lower.
-Google advertisers face a lot more competition in their space, therefore the bids are driven up. Company A is using the same words as Company Z. Would you rather be 26th in line for ad space on Adwords or first in line on Bing. Your bid price on Bing should be much lower, however, there's a reason for that.
2. Conversion rates are better (sometimes).
-According to the article, "While you can expect your Google campaigns to get plenty of traffic, it typically takes a lot of work to bring conversion rates up to an acceptable level. You won't get nearly as much traffic from Bing, but you'll get access to the MSN audience. This can translate into higher sales for certain types of businesses. Compared to Google users, MSN users are older (the bulk are in the 25-54 age range, as opposed to Google's audience, which ranges from 13-34) and primarily female (57 percent vs. 50 percent).These are the customers of choice for most B2C marketers."

Remember though, the demographic may be a better fit for certain audiences, but there will be a lot less of them so your conversion rates would need to ?x higher than Google advertisers to get the same results. Your break even would be dependent on the difference in price of your ad between the two services multiplied by the conversion % on each service.
3. Better customer support for small accounts.
-You need to spend more than $500k per year to get an account rep from Google. Bing will give you free advertising consulting via their Quick Launch program, provided you spend at least $500 per month.
4. Search traffic is about to grow.
-"According to Comscore, Google's search share in May was around 64 percent compared with Bing's paltry 12 percent." The new partnership that combines Bing and Yahoo! is around 30 percent, almost half of Google's. Not too shabby.
5. Advertisers who prepare their campaigns ahead of the partnership will have an advantage over those who wait.
-Google and Bing both require advertisers to establish an account history before allowing the ads to go out to a wide audience. If you think you're going to eventually include Bing advertising as part of your campaign it's best to establish an account now and then ramp up your advertising once the Yahoo! migration (with their much larger search audience) is complete.
6. You can import your Google campaigns directly into Bing.
-Bing is eliminating many of the Yahoo! legacy features that made this impossible previously.
7. It's just plain smart to diversify.
-Not always, but in this case a decent argument can be made. Google can be quirky with how they treat their customers based on quality control policies and secret algorithms that are out of the customer's control. "This unpredictability is, hands down, the single biggest complaint advertisers have with Adwords... Adding a second PPC source to the mix diversifies your traffic and reduces the chance that you'll wake up one day to find your website has become a ghost town."

It will be interesting to see if the Bing/Yahoo! combo is able to provide a black box in this space that rivals the competition. Google certainly has had a giant head start perfecting its craft. No amount of customer service will be able to overcome a vastly inferior product.

Microsoft certainly knows what it's like to be a one-trick pony. Perhaps that knowledge will help them force Google to learn a few new tricks. If either needs a case study on training their pony, there is one online here:

If you decide to try out Bing, let us know how it goes. And if you need help with your campaign, let us know that too. We're happy to help.

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