Is Bing Ads, formerly MSN Adcenter, worth it?

Over the years a number of my clients have asked me if Bing ads, or Adcenter, is worth including in their marketing arsenal. My answer is always YES IT IS! Now it is not the first thing that I suggest but once the Adwords campaigns are setup then it is worth it to spend the time setting up Bing ads. Let’s take a look at why this is the case and at the end of the article I give a real life example from one of my Ecommerce clients where I show how much profit they would be missing out on by not running ads on Bing.

Review of the Good Things about Bing Ads

  • Cheaper than Adwords
  • Covers both Bing & Yahoo in one Place
  • Easily(well…fairly easily) import your already existing Adwords campaigns
  • Comscore reports 26% of all searches powered by Bing
  • Easy to Learn if already familiar with Adwords
  • “Better” Reporting for some data
  • Bind Ad Editor similar to Adwords editor

Review of the Bad Things about Bing Ads

  • Less traffic than Google
  • Bing Ads Editor is clunky at times compared to Adwords Editor
  • Online interface is slower and only allows for 20 records at a time
  • No remarketing for Adcenter network
  • Ad extensions are not up to par, especially in Canada

 Bing Ads is usually cheaper then Adwords

Bing usually has a much cheaper CPC than Google. For a main keyword in one of my client’s account the CPC was 33% cheaper on Adcenter than Adwords. Some blogs have also reported higher conversion rates but for the accounts I manage I do not notice any statistical difference but when you take in the reduced CPC it definitely gives a much better ROI.

How much traffic does Bing get compared with Google?

Many people don’t think that Bing is worth it because they believe that the clicks will be extremely low. Well to this I will point you at the latest Comscore report which notes that Bing powers about 26% of all internet searches. With my own clients I see a little lower than this at about 23-24% but I also don’t spend as much time optimizing the accounts so that may be the cause of the difference.

What you need to keep in mind is that when you use Bing ads your advertisements will show up for Bing and Yahoo as well as their search partners. So out of 100 searches do you really want to miss out on 26 of them by only using Adwords?

I won’t go into to details but if you have a good content campaign then Bing also offers a pretty robust content network.

 Is it hard to setup a campaign in Bing Ads?

In reading this I presume you already have an adwords account. If not then I would say you should start your search campaigns there.

Once you have built out your campaigns then Bing has made it easy for you to import your Adwords account into their system. For more details you can check out their official help or check out some of the online tutorials. To find the tutorials just do a search on Google(what can I say I don’t actually use Bing myself!) for “import adwords campaign into adcenter”. If you are familiar with how accounts are structured in Adwords then you will be very familiar with the interface as Microsoft has basically copied Google.

How is the reporting with Adcenter?

In some ways Adcenter makes reporting better especially when it comes to figuring out Quality Score issues. One of the ways it is better is that you can view your historical Quality Score as well as deeper problems such as keyword and landing page performance. I have to give a shout out here to a PPC hero article which first drew my attention to this feature last year. Another great report is the Negative Keyword Conflict Report which can tell you what keywords are getting blocked by your Negative keywords. This is something Adwords does not offer and every once in awhile I will run this report to see if I have mistakenly blocked a keyword that could be making me or my client money.

Bing Ads also has a very neat search query report that can tell you what the actual punctuation is. This is a great report for finding out questions your clients may be asking and can be used to think up articles you may wish to write on your site. For more information I again send you to PPC Hero article on SQRs.

Problems with Bing Ads

Now I have been very generous to Bing ads but I am certainly not saying that they are the best. One of the biggest problems with Bing is that in all aspects of managing your account the interfaces are slower and more cumbersome. Whether you manage from their web based interface, or the Adcenter Editor, things will be slower, clunkier, and generally more painful. In fact this leads to me not managing the account as much as I should because it can take a lot more time than adwords. However, the reduced traffic with Bing means that you will not have to spend as much time managing. They have come a long way even within the last couple of years and I think they will continue to improve so don’t let this dissuade you. I remember when they first started combining Bing and Yahoo and it was best to use only Internet Explorer as their interface didn’t support Firefox or Chrome that well. Thankfully this has been fixed and these browsers work just as well as IE now. Another area that can be frustrating is that they only allow 20 rows within their interface for showing campaigns/adgroups/keywords which can be frustrating if you want to look at a lot of data quickly.

Another area that Bing lags behind is in some of the advanced features that have been making their way into search marketing in the last few years. Their ad extensions are not as good as Adwords and they offer no remarketing or remessaging. This second point seems to be rolling out in some markets but it is surprising they haven’t put a greater push on this as they have a decent content network.

A quick look at one of my accounts

Here I wanted to use one of my real life clients to show that Bing Adcenter is definitely worth it. The client is in Ecommerce and when you compare Google and Bing then Adwords had 3 times the amount of traffic. However,  it actually cost 4 times as much to get this traffic. Overall Bing Ads brought in 23% of all search traffic but they did it at a much higher ROI. When I take out the ad spend and only look at the profits the Bing ads actually brought in 26% of the total profit from search traffic.

So in conclusion the question is this. If the paid search market in your industry has a potential for $100,000 in profit, and you are only running on Google, is it worth your time setting up a Bing account to make an extra $26,000 or are you happy leaving that on the table for someone else?


4 thoughts on “Is Bing Ads, formerly MSN Adcenter, worth it?

  1. Bret


    Id like to brainstorm with you methods and tracking options with MS Adcenter.

    Possibly work together on some campaigns….interested?


    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Bret,

      More then happy to talk about tracking. I simply use Google Analytics with the although you can’t automatically match up the costs to sales which is a bit of a pain. You can also use their conversion tracking which can be useful if you are generating leads but can be less useful if it’s eCommerce.

      As for working together I don’t run Bizop or work from home campaigns as I find even the good ones end up costing a lot of people money who shouldn’t be buying in or they often start looking very much like a pyramid. On top of that Google hates them so they can be a pain to promote although Bing can be a bit more forgiving. Anyhow hopefully you’re on the winning side of the bizop equation as I do know a lot of people who have profited off them. One thing though is I took a quick look at your site and you have a spelling mistake “Entrepreneur” on the first page. It’s really important to make sure landing pages are mistake free as it is very easy for people to make a decision to click the back button.

      Thanks and if you have any more questions I’m happy to help.


  2. Amjad Khan

    Hi Dave,

    I initiated a Bing Adwords a/c last evening, and spent USD 200 with over 80 clicks hitting my campaigns, but I did not receive a single call from any of the people. I found this quite unusual. We would lik to solicit your help with this. Could you please advise.


    1. Dave Post author

      Their are many reasons it could be including your keywords, match types on keywords and you have to consider your landing page. Were your campaigns working on Google Adwords or was this your first venture into PPC?


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