Is Bing A Better Buy Than Google AdWords For Small Business?

bing-ads-new-240pxData released yesterday by small business (SMB) marketing platform Pricing Engine argues, as a number of others have in the past, that Bing ads are a “more efficient” buy than Google AdWords. While Google has more search volume and higher CTRs, Bing emerges as a lower cost source of leads for SMBs according to the company’s analysis.

(See also, AdGooroo’s comparison of Google AdWords vs. Yahoo-Bing ad performance in six verticals.)

Pricing Engine looked at its own data from hundreds of small business accounts. It found that CTRs were marginally higher on Google but CPCs were much higher.

Bing vs. Google CTR/CPC

Source: Pricing Engine small business accounts analysis

Accordingly, the SMB spend was determined by Pricing Engine to be “more efficient” on Bing. While big brands may favor the higher query volume on Google, SMBs don’t demand or frankly need the same kind of scale. Indeed, in some cases, significant scale can create fulfillment problems for SMBs.

The following chart shows the average monthly AdWords spend by business category among Pricing Engine’s SMB clients:

AdWords monthly spend SMBs

Source: Pricing Engine small business accounts analysis

This next graphic below reflects a comparison between the average CTR and CPC (for Pricing Engine clients) by business category for Google AdWords.

AdWords CTR vs. CPC for SMBs

Attorney services saw the most expensive clicks and the largest gap between CTR and CPC. Automotive by contrast was almost perfectly balanced.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: AdWords | Microsoft | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Stats | Stats: General | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • https://plus.google.com/115998187614072933983 Nolan Kido

    Greg, the second graphic is confusing. Why isn’t CTR expressed as a percentage?

  • http://www.fakeseonews.com/ SeoZebra

    I don’t think that it is good idea to pursue larger CTR rates in AdWords. Better if only potential customers click at your ads.

  • Hema Malini

    Most of the people I know – both SEO consultants and clients use Google, doesn’t visibility of the ad also count? If no one is looking at the ad whats the advantage of good pricing?

  • Pat Grady

    Efficient at getting traffic? You showed CPCs and CTRs, you are talking about measuring “efficiency” for SMBs, and you’re not talking about profit, ROAS, or Conversion Rate?

    Maybe you’re just reporting someone else’s findings here, but “Bing emerges as a lower cost source of leads for SMBs”… leads, as in traffic to? not leads, as in converted interest to action, whether optin or sales?

    I find the confusion created here, problematic – SMBs shouldn’t be using the term “more efficient buy” without regard to Conversion Rate.

  • Michael Lindsey

    The user base is so small for Bing in comparison to Google I wouldn’t focus much time on a solid PPC campaign like I would with Google.

  • http://blackhatpwnage.com/ igl00

    for USA imo bing is waaaay better now.

  • Brady D. Callahan

    Yeah, the second graphic makes no sense considering CTR is being measured by dollar amounts…

  • d_a_t

    From article, “While big brands may favor the higher query volume on Google, SMBs don’t demand or frankly need the same kind of scale. Indeed, in some cases, significant scale can create fulfillment problems for SMBs.”

  • Openuris

    Pretty clear this isn’t written for the business doing the advertising in mind since there’s no comparison of like-term conversion rates based on the traffic from each source. We’ve found that bing is does exactly what’s shown here as far as traffic goes, but the quality of the traffic and overall cost per conversion is unsustainable.

  • mattboland

    I’d love to be getting a $4 CTR!

  • mattboland

    I’d love to be getting a $4 CTR!

  • Kretek

    Aside from what the article says, many SMBs are bailing on Google Adwords. Why, you ask? Because it’s become impossible to compete with big brands. When Adwords first came out, entrepreneurs could get a business off the ground overnight with a good set of keywords.

    Now, it’s all “favorite cookie recipe” = Nabisco ad (poor example because no one has bought that keyword, but still).

    Bing has the search traffic that Google had years ago, when this sort of advertising for SMBs was at its peak. It makes sense that Bing would be a better option, especially for their smaller CPC.

  • Hema Malini

    Thank you for being unoriginal and quoting from the article but that doesn’t seem to answer my question, if the customer of the SBM doesn’t use the Bing search engine for searches then the only way they would see the ad is through partner sites which are at present really low when compared to Google.

    Also without mentioning conversion rate how did they calculate the CPC? Of course the CPC will be higher in Google..theres more competition! Rather go in for a well designed PPC or boost yourself organically!

  • Jam

    Google still the best

  • Rock Hillbilly (*Patriot*)

    I think you also need to take a look at the profile of someone who uses Bing. Of course there is a lot of overlap, but I would bet bing users are slightly different than google users in certain categories.

  • d_a_t

    Just trying to answer your question. Bing has 18% of search share, so their users aren’t non-existent.

    CPC is cost divided by clicks, so no conversion rate required.

  • Sam Mazaheri

    Seems pretty typical. Is there a link to the original study available? I’m curious about the methodology and other findings.

  • Jeniffer Maben

    Google is focusing on money only while Bing is focusing on real user behaviour. Google makes more GUI attractive without factual data. Bing is more enhanced and better than GA. Simple neat and clean report. My all clients appreciating Bing report which I sent on monthly basis.

  • http://www.sktthemes.net/ SKT Themes

    Well i used Bing for some of my keywords and to be honest didn’t get too much traffic.

    But on other hand i received much better ROI on bing than on Google. Even though i get a lot of traffic on Google 70% of those clicks never convert and whereas in Bing only 32% never convert. So for better roi and lesser pay per click charges Bing is definitely worth a try…

  • Pedro Martheyn

    This is actually a good article in my opinion. People here are mentioning ROAS, conv etc.. But I encourage you to go and look at the metrics that you currently have and you will see a direct correlation between front KPI’s and back end KPI’s .. which means that Bing is more cost efficient as stated here, but also they do drive quality traffic that do convert — They don’t have the volume which is a complete different story…

  • Openuris

    That’s interesting. We’ve seen the exact opposite. Our ROI on bing is terrible, probably 1/3 on most of our campaigns of what a similar campaign on adwords runs.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    The majority of the traffic from either platform is derived from the publisher/display network. Google has policed and refined this network over the years far better than Yahoo (Bing). Google offers superior tools for targeting quality partners and excluding poorly performing ones.

    This summary may as well have been from 2007. The lower cost Bing *Search* traffic is a nice way to supplement our profits. Their display network through Yahoo is very low quality and often not worth the time it takes to police it properly.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Adwords and Bing have become far more complex than those good old days Kretek (I miss ‘em to). The small business owner rarely has the aptitude nor time to learn the platform, less time to stay up to date, and milliseconds left over to manage the daily details. Poor results send them scurrying away from PPC with their wallet firmly tucked. This filtering out process leave behind just the big brands who have deep the pockets to leverage knowledge and tools to get the most out of PPC. The concept of adwords express is nice, but unrealistic. SMB’s need to find an experienced local PPC manager to take on their advertising. When put in experienced hands PPC returns are still very rewarding.

  • http://www.sktthemes.net/ SKT Themes

    Okay we got very bad ROI on google adwords. If ROI on bing is bad for you then you should focus more on adwords. May be the target audience also matters here as well as what you are selling.

  • http://www.sktthemes.net/ SKT Themes

    Okay we got very bad ROI on google adwords. If ROI on bing is bad for you then you should focus more on adwords. May be the target audience also matters here as well as what you are selling.

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