Why You Should Rethink Your Bing PPC Strategy

By Stephanie White | @stephanieppcpro | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing |

Okay, so we all know that Google continues to have the highest volume of searchers compared to Bing and Yahoo. In the last comScore Search Engine Share release, Google has 63.8% of the search engines share. Bing has 21.3% and Yahoo has 12.4% of the remaining search market share. In 2017, when the next market share report is released we can expect a few shifts, but we do not expect major changes. For years, Bing seems to always be an afterthought when it comes to advertising, but it may be time to rethink your Bing PPC strategy.

One thing to consider is that Bing ads also show on the Yahoo Gemini Network giving Bing a 33.7% combined reach. Additionally, most searchers do not switch search engines, so the searchers you reach through Bing/Yahoo are unique from the audience on Google. So, if you are advertising on both engines you have the opportunity to reach the greatest number of unique searchers.

Bing Revenue-per-Visit (RPVs) are Higher

Account Example 1

In 2017, in one account the total spend in Bing made up 12% of the total ad spend for the year. The resulting ROAS were significantly higher in Bing at 487% compared to Google at 334%. Before 2017, this client’s primary focus was on Google, and since our campaigns were often limited by budget this meant Bing was always on the back-burner.

Additionally, in the Analytics for the same account in 2017, we can see that the revenue-per-session (RPV) are significantly higher in Bing and Yahoo. So, considering this, why is Bing/Yahoo such an afterthought?  Should the conversation shift to maximizing spend and profit on Bing and then spend the remaining budget in the other engines?

Account Example 2

In 2017 for another e-commerce account example, we see the RPVs are higher and the average order value is greater compared to Google. Also, the average order value is higher at $489 for Bing PPC compared to $392 for Google PPC.

Account Example 3

In this next account example, they are similar to the vehicle parts website above, but they are a completely different account. Their RPVs in Bing PPC were nearly double over what we see in Google. Although Google PPC sessions are significantly higher, they are not converting at the same rate as Bing PPC. Are you convinced yet?

Example Client Bing PPC Journey

In one client example, we spent very little in 2016 compared to 2017. In fact prior to July 2017, most of the budget was spent on running the Brand campaign because the consensus is that “We know we need to be there.” Starting in May of 2017, we began increasing our spend for Non-Brand in Bing.

Suddenly, we began seeing more revenue coming in each month, but the data showed that 90% of the revenue was being attributed to our Brand campaigns. However, our spend on the Brand campaigns was not higher, in fact, due to optimizations it was 39% lower than 2016. The issue was only 10% of the revenue was getting attributed to our Non-Brand campaigns. So our theory was advertising Non-Brand on Bing was working and this certainly makes a strong case for Non-Brand attributing to Brand revenue.

Another thing we could see was more phone calls coming in for Bing. Unfortunately, the call tracking was installed in August of 2017, so we didn’t have any additional details prior to that date. However, each month phone calls made up 50 – 80% of the total conversions each month.

Prior to the installation of call tracking, our CPLs were $500-700 in Bing, which was significantly higher than Google. Once we were able to factor in the call conversions, our CPL dropped between $45 – 140, which was actually lower than Google.

So, obviously, Bing is a huge driver for phone call conversions for this client. Also, since we were recording these calls, we were able to listen to the calls to determine if the call quality was good. Plus, the Non-Brand campaigns were driving relevant calls with customers inquiring about their products. One thing to know about this company is their products are big, expensive, and require planning. These products would never be an impulse buy. So maybe Non-Brand customers still had more questions or needed more time and that might explain why more transactions came in under Brand searches.

Also, we noticed that the calls coming in from Bing Paid average duration was nearly 6 minutes. This is significantly higher than the call duration from Google at 4.5 minutes. Another colleague noticed the same thing in one of her accounts and mentioned it in her post Reasons Why Call Tracking Is Important for PPC Campaigns.

So, each month our revenue increased for Bing PPC and had less dramatic swings than in the previous year. The combined Organic and Paid incremental revenue lift was 28% higher in Q3-Q4 in 2017 compared to 2016.

Bing Organic saw a 41% loss in revenue YoY, but Bing PPC received $511,199 in revenue compared to nothing in the prior year. The Bing organic traffic only saw a small 14% loss in sessions.  So even if we factor in PPC taking some of the Organic traffic we still saw a combined 144% lift in revenue. Also, Analytics is not factoring in any revenue resulting from phone calls.

Bing Client Example 2

In another account, we restructured the Brand campaign, launched the Shopping campaign, and increased spending on Non-brand search campaigns. Our spend in Bing was 130% higher in 2017 compared to 2016 and our revenue was 574% higher. The Brand campaign spend was 88% higher and revenue was 823% higher in 2017 compared to the previous year. Non-Brand campaigns spent 143% more and revenue was 286% higher.

Bing Client Example 3

In a similar account, we did some of the same things as we did in the client Example 1 from above. The revenue from Bing PPC was 117% higher in 2017 compared to the previous year. The Brand campaign spend was 100% higher and revenue was 39% higher in 2017 compared to the previous year. Non-Brand campaigns spent 37% more and revenue was 390% higher.

Bing Demographics

In all three account examples above, Bing and Yahoo searchers spend more money per visit to the website. Actually, this makes sense when we consider Bing demographics. Their audience is often older, educated, and their household income is higher.

  • 50% are women / 50% are men
  • 39% of users are married, 33% are single or never married
  • 40% are between age range 35 – 54
  • 30%+ have Associates degrees
  • 17%+ have Masters or Doctoral degrees
  • 35% household income is greater than $100,000

Bing and Windows Computers

Also, according to Net MarketShare, 88% of users are using Windows operating systems compared to only 8% using Mac OS. Why is that important to you when it comes to PPC advertising? Whenever someone purchases a new Windows computer, Bing will automatically be the preset default browser unless the user cares enough to change it to Google.

More ‘Bing’ for your Buck

So, if the examples above showing higher RPV, greater ROAS, and improvement in revenue above didn’t convince you. Let’s look at some other big perks from Bing. In five different accounts, we can see that CPCs are lower for a better average position for Non-Brand Search than in Google.

This may be in part because Bing shows more ads above the fold than Google, Also, since Google killed the right side ads in February 2016, this made the top 2-4 spots highly competitive in Google. So, in Bing, you truly get more for less. You get a higher average ad position for less money and a greater chance for your ad to show above the fold. Here are two examples of searches for comforters in Bing and Google, just look at the difference in ad space.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has given you some additional reasons for why you should consider putting more time an effort into your Bing PPC. In my experience, the small investment produced significant gains for three different client accounts. In all three cases, the costs were lower and the ROAS were greater for each client. So, my goal in 2018 is to maximize Bing PPC revenue and then put the rest of the money in Google PPC.

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