Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising have become synonymous with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. With their self-serve structure, they allow business owners to create their own ads while paying for clicks. Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising aren’t the same, however. Before allocating your business’s marketing budget to PPC advertising, you should learn how they differ.
What Is Google Ads?
Available at ads.google.com, Google Ads is a self-serve PPC advertising network that’s offered by Google. It features a web-based interface from which you can create and manage ads. For Search campaigns, your ads may appear in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. For Display campaigns, your ads may appear on relevant partner websites. For Video campaigns, your ads may appear on YouTube.
What Is Microsoft Advertising?
Microsoft Advertising is a self-serve PPC advertising network offered by Microsoft. Microsoft, of course, owns and operates the Bing search engine. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to discover that Microsoft Advertising ads can appear in Bing’s SERPs. You can sign up for Microsoft Advertising at ads.microsoft.com. After creating an account, you can create ads that appear in Bing’s SERPs for your target keywords.
In addition to Bing’s SERPs, Microsoft Advertising ads can appear in the SERPs of Yahoo, AOL and DuckDuckGo. Microsoft Advertising also offers its own version of Google’s Display campaigns. Known as Audience Network campaigns, they reach users of Edge, MSN, Outlook, and other partner websites and platforms.
There’s more advertiser competition on Google Ads than on Microsoft Advertising. A study published by eMarketer found that Google Ads accounts for nearly 39 percent of all online advertising expenditures by U.S. businesses. Microsoft Advertising has a smaller, though still significant, share of the online advertising market. If you’re concerned about competitors overtaking your ads, you may want to use Microsoft Advertising.
There are nuances between the two PPC advertising networks’ bidding options. While it’s considered a PPC advertising network, Google Ads offers alternative bidding options for some types of campaigns. If you’re creating a Display campaign, you can choose either cost-per-click (CPC) — the standard PPC bidding option — or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) bidding. Microsoft Advertising is more restrictive regarding its bidding options. For most campaign types on Microsoft Advertising, you can only use CPC bidding.
Microsoft Advertising typically yields lower actual CPCs than Google Ads. In other words, if you create the same ad targeting the same keywords on both PPC advertising networks, you can expect to pay less for clicks from Microsoft Advertising. A study by ReportGarden, in fact, found that Microsoft Advertising advertisers pay nearly two-thirds less per click than Google Ads advertisers.
Click volume is usually higher on Google Ads than on Microsoft Advertising. You can get more users to click your ads by choosing the former PPC advertising network. The difference in click volume can be attributed to their search engines. Google Ads serves ads primarily on Google, whereas Microsoft Advertising serves ads primarily on Bing. Google processes over 15 times as many searches per month than Bing, so the click volume on Google Ads is naturally higher than that of Microsoft Advertising
Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising both offer extensions. It’s an optional and free feature that’s designed to expand ads with extra content. Extensions are similar on Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising. You can choose from about a dozen extensions on either PPC advertising network.
Neither Google Ads nor Microsoft Advertising guarantees that extensions will be displayed. Google Ads will only display extensions if the ads with which they are used have a minimum Ad Rank. Microsoft Advertising will only display extensions for a given ad if it has the highest bid and quality of all competing ads.
You can target users by their device on Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising, With that said, only Microsoft Advertising supports device-based targeting for search ads. Google Ads supports device-based targeting for Display and Video campaign ads, but it doesn’t support device-based targeting for Search campaign ads.
The closest feature offered by Google for Search campaign ads is device-based bid adjustments, which involves automatically increasing your bids for the devices you target. Your ads may still show to users of other devices; device-based bid adjustments just increases the chance that users of your targeted devices will see your ads by raising the bids for them.
Remarketing is a shared feature of both PPC advertising networks. It’s an advanced targeting method that involves serving ads to users who’ve previously engaged with your business’s website. Engagement can be something as simple as visiting your site’s homepage, or it can be more complex, such as adding a product to a shopping cart but not checking out.
With remarketing, you can create ads that only users who’ve performed an engagement action will see. Microsoft Advertising requires a list of at least 300 previously engaged users for remarketing, whereas Google Ads requires a list of at least 1,000 previously engaged users for remarketing. If your business’s website doesn’t generate a lot of traffic, you may struggle to meet the remarketing requirements of Google Ads. With a remarketing requirement of only 300 previously engaged users, Microsoft Advertising is better for businesses with low-traffic websites.
While return on investments (ROIs) can vary depending on hundreds of factors, many advertisers experience higher ROIs on Microsoft Advertising than on Google Ads. Traffic is easier to convert on Microsoft Advertising, so it delivers higher ROIs than Google Ads.
ROI is an important metric for PPC advertising. It reflects how much revenue your ads generate relative to how much money you paid for the ads. Most ads created on Microsoft Advertising will deliver a higher ROI than those created on Google Ads.
In the world of PPC advertising, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising are two of the biggest names. They are PPC advertising networks that reach users on Google and Bing, respectively. You don’t have to restrict your digital marketing strategy to either Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising. You can create ads on both PPC advertising networks.