When It Comes To Search Engine Advertising, Google’s Rival Is Gaining Ground

When It Comes To Search Engine Advertising, Google’s Rival Is Gaining Ground
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With Christmas bells ringing, there are compelling reasons why digital marketers should turn their heads to search engines outside of Google, writes Paul Korber (pictured below), regional vice president of customer success for the Asia Pacific at Marin Software.

Paul Korber, Marin Software

We know that once a brand becomes a verb, it’s well and truly in the lead of its competitors. So, it’s no surprise that Google’s dominance in the search marketplace has been firmly held and that advertisers often neglect other search engines in their digital advertising efforts. While Google’s influence still remains comfortably unchallenged, there are compelling reasons that digital marketers should be advertising on other search engines as well.

As an advertising channel, search can be one of the best ways to reach consumers when they’re in the process of actively researching a product. Whether it’s quickly searching for the location of a restaurant, or beginning the research process for a high-consideration purchase like a new car, search is the channel that most businesses need to invest in if they want to be top of mind during the online customer journey.

Paired with retargeting, search advertising technologies have become more advanced and complex over the last decade, and many organisations are still learning how to make full use of the capabilities of paid search advertising. This, combined with a limited search advertising budget, can be a major constraint for advertisers despite clear evidence that the investment is worth it.

It’s unsurprising that Google is still king in paid search investment, with the search engine giant accounting for 81 per cent of desktop searches and 96 per cent of mobile searches. However, Bing is emerging as a player worth considering.

Organisations investing in Google are allocating an average of 83 per cent of their spend to the search company, while those investing in Bing are allocating 20 per cent of their total paid search spend. On average, 72 per cent of organisations are planning to increase their investment in Google over the next 12 months, while 36 per cent plan to do the same on Bing.

Bing is the second largest search engine after Google. According to comScore, Bing receives 6.2 billion searches a month. What’s more, people searching on Bing and Yahoo sites see advertisements that are powered by Bing Ads. According to those stats, that means you can reach one in three people who are searching for information, products and services. By no means am I suggesting you should stop search advertising on Google, just that Bing is hardly deserving of being overlooked by advertisers.

In the words of Old El Paso, “Why don’t we have both?” Advertisers are more likely to get the best return on investment by implementing search advertising across multiple search engines, with statistics showing Google and Bing reach the most consumers. A study by Marin Software found that replicating ad campaigns across search providers is advertisers’ biggest challenge around delivering ROI from paid search. This confirms a major opportunity for advertisers wanting to dominate as much advertising space as possible.

Most good things don’t come without their challenges. In the same report, a ‘lack of funding’ and ‘lack of support for investing in paid search’ was cited as organisations’ greatest challenge when wanting to duplicate search ad campaigns across search providers. This is a challenge that could imminently lead to their fall from the top in the paid search market, literally.

To address this hurdle, one of the most important features Bing Ads has implemented in recent years is the ability to import existing campaigns directly from Google AdWords. This makes the platform’s adoption by new and returning advertisers a painless process. To make cross-publisher management even easier, Bing Ads now offers automated imports to enable advertisers to synchronise their Google campaigns with their Bing counterparts on a recurring basis.

If you’re not already advertising on Bing, chances are your competitors aren’t, either. The relatively low competition on Bing offers the opportunity for advertisers to accrue incremental traffic with the same level of search intent as your Google campaigns. And, the ability to cross-publish ad campaigns via emerging software means that you don’t have to sacrifice your search-ads on Google – or your budget– to do so.

Another benefit of replicating paid search campaigns across both Bing and Google is that Bing doesn’t force close variants on you. Whilst Google effectively killed off exact and phrase match keywords as we used to know them by forcing a “close variant” matching target onto all AdWords accounts, Bing’s option to include close variant queries as matches, remains just that– an option.

Replicating search ad campaigns across both Google and Bing offers advertisers the best of both worlds. You would be crazy to believe that investing in paid search advertising on Google isn’t worthwhile – just take one look at its monopoly. You could also be making a big mistake by overlooking the benefits of replicating these search campaigns across Bing. Bing increasingly accounts for a huge amount of search traffic, as well as offering a far less cluttered market and open variant queries. Most importantly, replicating search ad campaigns across both Google and Bing will give you an unfair share of search advertising real estate, and who doesn’t want a slice of that?

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