A complete guide to Microsoft Advertising and Bing Ads

We shared our tricks and tips on Microsoft Ads management to help your business grow.
Written by Jess Kirkbride

The power of online advertising is outstanding, particularly paid search. But if you’re not including Microsoft Advertising as part of your digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out.

Why? Because the demographics and people that you can target on Microsoft is not something to be missed out on.

When it comes to PPC advertising through Microsoft, the terminology and product names can be a little confusing. Microsoft Bing is an online search engine much like Google. It is owned and operated by Microsoft and its search results are used to power Alexa, the virtual assistant from Amazon.

Microsoft Advertising, which used to be known as Bing Ads, is a service that enables online advertising – including pay-per-click (PPC) – across Microsoft Bing and other search engines.


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes

What is Microsoft Advertising?

Formerly known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising isn’t restricted to just Bing these days. Now, Microsoft actually runs three separate search networks through their advertising, including Bing, Yahoo and AOL. So when you advertise with Microsoft, you’re actually getting access to a whole host of different audiences. And let’s not forget, audiences coming through search as opposed to social media or display ads already have a strong intent to buy, meaning higher CTRs (click-through-rates).

Since paid search is one of the most common forms of online advertising, a lot of marketers are curious as to which to use for their campaigns: Microsoft or Google Ads. The fact is though, the two have many differences and offer contrasting benefits, so ideally, it’s best to make use of both platforms.

What is the difference between Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads?

First things first, the purpose of both Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads is the same. Both are online advertising tools designed to help businesses reach specific audiences, drive traffic and increase revenue, however there are different features and benefits associated with Google and Bing advertising, which could make using a combination of the two advantageous to your campaigns.

Google comprises two advertising networks – the search engine network – where ads appear on the SERPs, and the display network, where advertisers create display ads to appear on a vast number of websites across the internet.

Microsoft Advertising is connected to three search engines – Bing, Yahoo, and AOL – so when you advertise on one platform, your ad is shown across all three. This means your campaigns are visible to searchers across all Bing, Yahoo, and AOL owned and operated sites, as well as various partner sites.

There are other differences between the two, though, including:

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What are the benefits of using Microsoft Advertising?

Microsoft Advertising comes with a whole host of benefits to take advantage of. Some of which may make it a preferable platform to Google Ads.

These include:

In fact, Microsoft itself states: ‘With one ad buy through Microsoft Advertising, you can reach 18 million unique searchers on the Microsoft Search Network who represent 441 million monthly desktop searches. This accounts for 21.3% of the search market in the United Kingdom.


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes


Improve your Google Ads performance in minutes

Microsoft Advertising campaign management: How to do it

It’s all very well setting up and executing a well-thought-out PPC campaign using Microsoft Bing Ads, but if you’re not managing it correctly and looking to continuously improve and react to your campaign results, then you won’t be able to guarantee its success.

Note that when we refer to PPC, we mean pay-per-click ads, which link through to your brand or service’s website or products. Before getting immersed into Microsoft Advertising, read our PPC guide which will give some context to the various forms of this kind of advertising and how it works.

A question you might be asking yourself when thinking about how to run a campaign on Microsoft Advertising, is whether or not you need an agency or a tool to help you manage it. There’s fundamentally no right or wrong answer here. All of it depends on your business and what you want from Microsoft Advertising.

When it comes to a PPC agency, someone will manage your entire campaigns for you. This means that you’re not dedicating hours of valuable time learning about how to manage your campaigns by yourself. You’re leaving it to the experts who will take care of the whole thing.

However, if you don’t want to surrender control of your accounts, a PPC management tool may be the better option. These allow you to remain in control of your accounts and prevent you from paying agency prices. By choosing the right PPC management tool, like Adzooma, you’ll be able to save valuable time managing and optimising your campaigns by yourself, but with access to personalised insights and intelligent opportunities to help you along the way.

How much does it cost to advertise on Microsoft Bing?

In order to determine how cost effective Microsoft Advertising, you’ll need to look at four performance benchmarks, which will vary by industry:

Despite the fact that budgets fluctuate by industry and advertiser, Microsoft Advertising is able to offer cheaper clicks on Bing, with PPC advertisers getting more for their money – purely because there is less competition for advertisers bidding. Figures vary, but CPCs can differ anywhere from 32.5% to 60.2% less than Google Ads. In fact, our research shows, that:

If you’re working with a smaller PPC budget, you’ll have to be meticulous with your bid management so Microsoft Advertising might well be the solution. In essence, getting the traffic you need at a lower cost will mean a better ROI.

Your questions answered

It’s easy enough to set up a Microsoft Advertising account – just have a read of our handy how-to guide and then check out Microsoft ads to get started. Microsoft recommends firstly reviewing your budget and bid strategy, expanding your targeting across different locations as well as devices, and assessing whether the keywords you are bidding on and the ads you are showing are truly relevant.

Yes, when set up and managed effectively, Microsoft Advertising can be a powerful tool to use as part of your PPC campaigns.

For best results, we’d recommend using Microsoft Advertising in conjunction with Google Ads where possible, and use Adzooma to help manage your campaigns.

Yes, Bing Ads was rebranded as Microsoft Advertising in 2019, which preceded Microsoft decision to rebrand the Bing search engine as Microsoft Bing in 2020.