In the fourth quarter of 2014, Yahoo/Bing saw its highest paid search market share since the Search Alliance was formed back in 2008: Yahoo/Bing now has a 26% market share, compared with Google’s 74%.
If you’re not on the Bing Ads bandwagon yet, it’s time to get busy. I believe Bing Ads will eventually overtake Google Adwords in ad market share. Here’s why.
Bing Ads is no longer the red-headed stepchild of PPC. They’ve caught up with Google in terms of feature parity, and they offer more flexibility for advertisers than Google. Tablet bid modifiers, a choice of local or toll free phone numbers in call extensions, a Skype logo on call extensions, and ad annotations are just some of the features Bing offers that Google does not.
All of these elements help ads stand out on the Bing search engine results page, leading to a higher click-through rate. Since Bing visitors tend to convert better than Google visitors, higher CTRs are a boon for advertisers looking to attract more of those high-converting visitors to their website.
No one would argue that Google’s revolving door of salespeople reps provides better service than the Bing Ads team. Bing Ads is active on Twitter, participating in PPC Chat and responding to advertiser questions. While Google has gotten better about this recently, they’re way behind Bing.
And Bing assigns actual reps to accounts. We’ve had the same Bing Ads account team for years. They’re proactive and helpful, and they understand our clients. Contrast this with Google, whose “account teams” change every quarter, and recommendations consist of “add ad extensions and increase your CPC.”
Let’s face it: even the most knowledgeable PPC pros run into issues now and then, or have questions they can’t answer. Having a reliable team of reps that know your clients encourages us to spend more.
In November, Firefox changed their default search engine from Google to Yahoo. Yahoo’s market share promptly increased from 6% to 9%, while Google’s dropped from 71% to 66%. Now, 9% doesn’t sound like a huge share – and it’s not. But that’s a 50% increase in share for Yahoo.
Remember, Yahoo is part of the Bing Ads network, so by advertising with Bing, you’re advertising on Yahoo as well. And you’ll reach those Firefox users who used to see Google results but are now seeing Yahoo results. Let’s face it: a lot of users don’t know how to change their default search engine, even when prompted.
Voice and Gesture Search
Voice search isn’t new. Many of us are accustomed to saying “OK Google” to our phones and asking a question, or using Siri on an iPhone. But Bing’s Cortana takes things to the next level.
Cortana can understand user intent and maintain a conversational state with the user. You can ask Cortana sequential questions, like “Will I need a jacket today?” and then “What about tomorrow?” and it understands that you’re still talking about the weather. Cortana also learns your preferences and tailors searches to them in a much more personal way than Google personalized search.
Bing also understands gestures on enabled devices like the Xbox and newer PCs. Whoever thought we’d be able to wave at our TV to turn it on? Or physically reach out and virtually grab an icon on a TV screen to select it, and swipe your hand to scroll? It’s here, folks – and Google isn’t doing any of this stuff yet.
Voice search is already revolutionizing PPC search queries. Gestured searching, currently in its infancy, could change the game entirely.
There was a time when it seemed everything Google touched turned to gold. Those days are long gone. Witness Google Glass: the much-maligned wearable technology. It was all the rage, and yet Google killed it off recently. Google clearly thought this was a great product, yet it didn’t last.
Google Adwords suffers from the same arrogance. Many features rolled out in the past year have been good for Google, but not necessarily good for advertisers: forced close variants, dynamic sitelinks, desktop traffic combined with tablet traffic, etc.
You may be thinking, “Bing has those things too.” But Bing added them after Google rolled them out, to keep parity with Google. I’m not convinced that Bing would have made these changes if Google didn’t make them first.
It’s time for a new king of the search hill, and Bing is poised for the job.
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