Microsoft Ads? Should you use them? Yes or no?
If you do paid search advertising, you’re aware that Google is dominant. So dominant that you don’t really have to use any other search engine.
However, there are other search engines, and people do use them. Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go and other niche search engines compete against Google. Microsoft owns Bing, and sells the advertising for Yahoo and AOL.
Did you know that Microsoft generated about 8.5 billion dollars in 2021 on the search platforms it sells ads for? Not too bad. I’d take an 8 and a half billion dollar business if someone said “here you go.”
But Google generated 257 billion dollars in fiscal 2021, which all of a sudden makes Microsoft Ads look pretty insignificant.
Microsoft does have the advantage of being able to promote Bing on its software. Microsoft Edge is the default browser on a PC using the Microsoft operating system, and Bing is the default search engine. Many users, but not all, will install Google Chrome and use Google search, but the Microsoft Edge browser and Bing search functions typically remain.
That brings up the question, should you be advertising with Microsoft Ads?
The answer is generally yes, unless your budget is so small that it doesn’t make sense. Anybody spending 2,000 or more a month on search ads can carve out enough to include Microsoft Ads. Bing and Yahoo, the primary places your ads will show up when using Microsoft Ads, have a combined search market share just under 9% in the U.S.
So how much should you allocate to Microsoft Ads? My suggestion if you are just starting is take about 10% of your search budget. That makes sense because that’s close to the market share.
As with any advertising, there is risk when you move dollars from one place to another. Just like with Google Ads, you should be tracking your results when using Microsoft Ads.
We like to use tracking phone numbers and dedicated landing pages. We know how our ads are performing and can compare them to the Google Ads.
It would be great to make a nice clean blanket statement and say “Microsoft Ads get X percent” return, and compare to Google by X amount.
But advertising tends to be messy, and that’s because markets behave differently. The same ad that’s killing it in Philadelphia might suck in Chicago.
Microsoft Ads are the same way. They require optimization and adjustments based on the results, or lack of.
If you find your results are better in terms of cost to acquire a client, you can shift more budget to Microsoft Ads. Conversely, if the ads don’t perform as well, you can shift budget to Google or other platforms that are performing better.
So yes, you should test Microsoft Ads. Manage and evaluate them just as you would other advertising.