Bing Ads – they’re no Google AdWords with only 3% of the NZ search market – but there’s often a lot of bang for buck in that small percentage!
From an agency perspective it appears that the Bing team at Microsoft have recently been making a real effort to engage with NZ and AU advertising agencies, giving them the Bing love with agency visits and the Bing Ads Connect conference held in Auckland on June 4th. This is all in the hope of getting agencies such as ourselves to spend more of our clients’ money with them.
At Search Republic we are always interested in investing in Non-Google search engines as an alternative, but if it is a domestic campaign targeting NZ eye balls – often that 3% isn’t worth the effort. For example; if we have a client with a budget of $10k to spend on search a month – at 3% of search volume that’s only $300 of the budget. We’ll often try to maximise spend on Bing as it generally gets better: ad positions, click through rates, and cost per conversion. But even when we maximise it out with 100% impression share it will often only be spending hundreds per month not thousands. We have to decide if the output is worth the effort in setting up, optimising and reporting on Bing campaigns; as opposed to spending that extra budget on Google AdWords with no more effort or real expense for the client.
However, we have found that in New Zealand there are some industries where it pays to invest in Bing. We have a travel client (pure e-commerce) where we generate over 25% of the traffic and revenue through Bing. This client has significant budgets and in using Bing we are able to get higher positions in the search results, higher click through rates and traffic that converts very well.
Targeting Offshore with Bing
Although Bing’s NZ usage is still low; it is much higher offshore and growing, and that’s where the use of Bing can pay dividends. In the US for example, Bing has increased its market share to 20% and the effective reach is nearly 33%, as it serves organic and paid search results to Yahoo search (at one point Bing dropped as low as 8% market share). It appears Google’s strong hold on search seems to be gradually weakening. In general, US trends flow onwards to NZ and AU.
Our parent company Online Republic invests around $500k in Bing annually across 100+ countries on its Cars, Campers and Cruise products – it does this because it gets great ROI. We also manage our clients Bing accounts targeting offshore markets with positive results. There are less competitors using the Bing search platform, so generally ads rank higher for less investment – resulting in a better return on ad spend.
What’s up with the Bing Yahoo and Yahoo Google relationship?
The Bing Yahoo relationship is Yahoo utilising Bing functionality for their own search product. This partnership extends to most countries – most except New Zealand and Australia; due to Yahoo!7 and Mi9’s inability to come to an agreement back in 2009. In NZ/AU Yahoo has teamed up with Google to provide its algorithm and results.
This is kept pretty quiet by all parties – except for that little logo on the right of the Yahoo search box. These are contractual agreements between the parties and it will be interesting to see what happens to the Yahoo Google relationship later this year.
So where should you be putting your Search Budgets?
Bing have now made it straightforward to import campaigns from Google Adwords into the Bing platform – so you can get campaigns up and running without too much investment in manpower.
As with everything online it is a matter of experimentation. First check the level of Bing organic traffic to your site (first check that your site is ranking). If there are enough visitors then it shows that your potential clients are on Bing and thus it may make sense to invest in Bing Ads.
Once you set your campaign live you may notice that compared to Google Adwords your ads are showing higher and generating more traffic and conversions. It is just a matter of how much traffic and conversions – and if it warrants optimising and managing on a day to day basis. My personal advice is giving Bing Ads a trial; and if the benefit outweighs the resource required, keep it running.
Brad has spent many years working on client side, developing digital strategies and managing teams to implement those strategies. He understands the challenges and priorities from an online marketer’s perspective the high targets, tight budgets and the education required to gain internal buy in to digital strategies. He also likes riding his Mt bike and telling stories about all the mountains he has climbed before becoming a Dad.