Will Bing Ads Ever Achieve Google Parity?

As anyone managing paid search campaigns across both Google and Bing can attest, launching campaigns in both engines is never quite as simple as copy & paste. Learning how to launch and manage campaigns in both engines requires remembering the differences between the two; whether it be subtle changes in where to find certain settings in the UI or more important aspects like campaign structure. Starting with the launch of their redesigned user interface in August, Bing Ads has been steadily launching new features that improve its parity with Google. Some of these are major changes with the possibility of impacting campaign performance; while others are smaller tweaks that improve management functionality.

TARGETING UPDATES

Most importantly, Bing is working on making major improvements to ad targeting. The largest of these updates is unified device targeting, which Google launched last year as “Enhanced Campaigns.” Although this update, scheduled to be implemented for all advertisers by October 3rd, appears to be following in the footsteps of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, Bing has retained the capability to set a specific bid multiplier for tablet devices. While you already had the ability to target all devices and apply bid multipliers, for better or worse, this streamlines the process by removing the option to have separate campaigns for each device.

Bing Ads allows unified device tracking, similar to Google's Enhanced Campaigns.

For more information on the unified devices change, our own Chris Chang has written an in-depth look into what this means for advertisers. In addition to the unified device targeting, Bing has also improved the following targeting features:

  • Time of Day: Ad scheduling can now be launched in 15 minute increments vs. choosing from a set of predetermined windows.
  • Zip Code Targeting:  Now have the ability to add and exclude locations at the zip code level.
  • Radius Targeting: Target ads to a certain radius around a location. This is particularly useful for businesses that are looking to drive foot traffic into physical locations.
  • Location Targeting: Adding locations in bulk through Bing Ads Editor has also been improved with the addition of a targeting tab. You can also target ads to people based on their location intent only vs. people physically in the location.

USABILITY UPDATES

In addition to the targeting improvements, Bing has also been working on rolling out other features that many advertisers have been using on Google, including:

  • Shared Libraries: Bing is working on rolling out shared libraries, starting with shared negative lists. This tool has been useful on Google in implementing multi-campaign negatives such as account-wide negatives (e.g. dirty words or competitors) or applying brand keywords as negatives across all non-branded campaigns. While they mention that other shared libraries will be following, there have not been any details provided as to which will be released next.
  • Improved Change History: Changes will now be grouped by date, time and campaign. For example, if bids were changed on multiple keywords in the same ad group at the same time, the changes will show up as one line in the change history report with the ability to expand for more details whereas previously all changes would have appeared as separate lines. There are also plans to implement an “undo” feature within the change history so any changes can easily be reverted.
  • Redesigned User Interface: As mentioned above, Bing revealed a redesigned UI in August with a result that ended up looking a lot like the Google UI. Changes include moving Tools and Opportunities sections as dropdowns menus in the header, adding a notification drop down, and modifying performance graphs to compare multiple metrics

While all of these updates are certainly improving the ease of management between both engines, Bing is mostly still focusing on playing catch up to the basic features that Google has rolled out long ago. While Bing has been working on improving manageability of their platform, Google has been pushing forward and breaking new ground with unique products like Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). What do you think? Will Bing ever be able to step out of Google’s shadow? Will the effort Bing is putting into offering a similar product as Google pay off in the long run?

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