Bing and Google have been going head to head with each other for several years when it comes to search, display and product ads. While Google is clearly taking the lead, it seems that Bing are still doing everything possible to make ground in this arena. One of Bing’s most recent moves is their Product Ads feature. Here’s a quick summary about it and a complete comparison between Bing, Google and Yahoo according to SimilarWeb PRO’s statistics.
Bing vs The World
Launched in 2009 as part of Microsoft’s vast catalog, Bing has been an unqualified success. I used SimilarWeb PRO to investigate their numbers and found that they average a mind boggling 75 million views per day. In just five years they’ve experienced a dramatic rise through the ranks to become the 8th most popular website in the world. In their category rank, however, they still remain behind the long established top dogs of Google and Yahoo (although they now power Yahoo’s results) whose view rate dwarfs Bing’s. Gaining ground on Google is going to be tough, but Product Ads are a step in the right direction.
A downside of online searches is that you have to trawl through a long list of text-based search results to find what you’re looking for. As well as exhausting the customer, this irritates merchants as they want their product in front of the customer there and then – much like visiting a physical store. Bing have had enough of this and their marketing boffins have cooked up Product Ads under the Bing Ads banner.
What are Product Ads?
Typing, for example, ‘bouquet’ into Bing will now bring up visual ads to the right of the SERP. Confronted with an image of a potential purchase, consumers are immediately closer to making that decision to part with their cash. Product Ads are larger than text ads, so products become more tempting than ever. You’re probably salivating at the thought of this new marketing opportunity, so get started by heading over to the Bing Merchant Center Store. Once there you can use a simple template to upload your product catalog. After calibrating your products to specific demographics, you can start campaigning!
On the campaign trail
Bing have simplified campaigns for Product Ads, so there’s no need to spend time investigating keywords and exercising your copywriting muscle. Images and product details will conveniently be extracted straight from your Bing Merchant Center and into your Product Ad. A competitive edge is present as merchants will be bidding on a pay-per-click basis, but instead of keywords it will be on product targets.
Why not just use Google AdWords?
At this point you should definitely continue using Google AdWords. There’s no reason to limit yourself to just one platform. However, it’s worth dividing your budget to the two platforms in order to maximize your exposure and compare performance. Another thing worth mentioning is the unique limitations you’ll find on Google Adwords. A number of merchants have been banned for apparent misuse of services, but high profile complaints have led to Google performing embarrassing u-turns after upsetting merchants. Having another platform, therefore, is also a form of security – if your business is based on ad traffic, you don’t want to be suddenly left with nothing.
Easy Import of campaigns
Bing are taking into account the fact that most of their target audience is already publishing via Adwords. This is probably the reason they are offering an option for importing Google Product Listing Ads campaigns straight into Bing Ads. This significant time saver will make the decision of giving Product Ads a try a whole lot easier.
A bit of healthy competition will also help drive both companies to invest and develop in their products to battle for superiority. At present, they’re similarly matched with Product Ads only offering ‘offer level reporting’ as an exclusive. I’d expect to see this change in the coming months though as they develop their product.
Bing’s Product Ads promise a new avenue for driving customer traffic towards your website. Images are a merchant’s best friend and offer consumers a tempting taste of what could shortly be in their hands with just a few clicks. We can’t say that Product Ads has launched as fully formed as we would like – it’s not available on mobile browsers – but they’ve got a history of making ground quickly, so the future’s bright!