Google Ads vs Microsoft Advertising: Which is Better for my Business?

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Google Adsense is a program is run by Google. The program allows the publishers around the Google network of content sites to offer automatic text, video, images, advertisements to name a few. All of this is directly targetted towards the site content and the audience.

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords)

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) first launched in 2000. Initially, Google Ads was modeled as a monthly subscription service, where Google would set up and manage ad campaigns. Over time, business owners wanted to run their own ad accounts, which led to the AdWords self-service portal in 2005. This would serve as the foundation for what Google Ads is today.

Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads)

Microsoft Advertising is much younger than Google Ads. In fact, Microsoft was the last of the “big three” search engines to develop its own system for PPC advertising. Up until 2006, MSN search engine ads were supplied by Overture (and later Yahoo!). Once Microsoft realized how much search marketing was growing, they started developing their own system, MSN adCenter. In 2012, MSN adCenter became what we know today as Microsoft Advertising.

Due to Google holding a vast majority of Search Engine Market Share, Bing has placed more emphasis on targeting specific audiences, including 60 million searchers not reached by Google. In addition to that, 38% of Bing’s users have household incomes of over $100,000 or more and 40% are between the ages of 35-54, which is useful information depending on your target audience.

Google Ads & Microsoft Advertising: Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

For a while, these two ad platforms were pitted against each other – with Google Ads almost always winning out due to Google being the most used search engine. However, times they are a changing.

Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) is growing in search engine share and making it difficult for small business owners to ignore it’s advertising potential.

Below we’re reviewing the history of the two PPC advertising platforms, their similarities, their differences, and how they work together to increase your visibility and leads.

Google Ads vs Microsoft Advertising: Understanding the Two Ad Platforms

It does not take much effort for an advertiser to import their campaigns from Google Ads straight into Microsoft Ads. But the most common mistake I tend to see is optimizing Microsoft Ads in the exact same way as with their Google Ads account. There are several differences between the two advertising platforms that advertisers need to remember to better optimize their campaigns.


In this post, I’ll share three major differences between Google and Microsoft that you need to know to get started. That way, next time you go in and optimize the mentioned areas in the channels, you will feel confident you are making the right decisions!

Search partner targeting options

Both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads have search partner networks. These are other sites allowing advertisers to expand the reach of their search network ads beyond the most and domains. during this section, there are a couple of differences between the channels. The search partner networks differ between Google and Microsoft, and therefore the way we will target each network is different, too. Also, Google’s search partners are set at the campaign level. In Microsoft, we will adjust our ad network distribution at the ad group level.

Google’s Search Partner Network includes many websites (, for example), also as other Google sites, like YouTube. By default, Google will automatically include your campaigns within the Search Partners setting. If you see the results for search partners is subpar when segmenting your campaign data, it only takes two clicks of your mouse to get rid of partners and save the settings. Unfortunately, in Google, targeting search partners is either an “all in” or “all out” feature. you can’t target just the search partners in Google.

search network

When adjusting your ad distribution settings in Microsoft Ads, you’ll be ready to see that besides Bing, your ads could show on the AOL and Yahoo networks. Now, unlike Google, there’s not an choice to target your search network ads on just, which is unfortunate. albeit you wanted to focus on just search network sites, you continue to need to pick the choice of Bing, AOL, and Yahoo lumped together.

What i prefer about the ad distribution in Microsoft Ads is that they have options separating their partners by “owned and operated” and “syndicated search partners.” Now for whatever reason, if you see that one among the partner options performs significantly better than the others, you’ve got the power to use a “target only” targeting method for your ad groups. That’s an enormous difference in how you’ll optimize your campaigns to undertake and maximize performance the maximum amount as possible on these channels.

In-market audiences for search

If you want to bid differently to groups of users who are more likely to be actively researching or ready to buy in a specific category of products or services, Google Ads and Microsoft Ads both allow advertisers to add these in-market audiences to setwork campaigns. We also have the option to use these audiences from a targeting or observation (bid only for Microsoft) capacity in our settings. In both channels, we can also increase our bids on these audiences by up to 900%, or decrease bids for these audiences by up to 90% .

What the major difference is for these audiences between the two channels are actual options we have to add to our campaigns within each channel. For example Microsoft has a “Social” category with subcategory options, like “Romance & Relationships” or “Takeout & Delivery.” Google does not have these options. And there are several other categories or subcategories each channel has that the other doesn’t. Take some time to see if you missed out adding additional in-market audience layers to your campaigns because you assumed they were the same between the channels.

At the time of writing this post, I couldn’t find a list of all the in-market audiences available in Google. But here is a list of all of the Microsoft in-market audiences that are updated as new ones are added.

Remember, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising are separate channels

The ability to easily export Google Ads account information to Microsoft Advertising is a huge time-saver. But that doesn’t mean Microsoft Advertising is a copy-and-paste channel. You may not get as much traffic in Microsoft as you do with Google, or you may not spend as much with Microsoft as you do with Google, but you need to optimize for each platform in order to get the benefits of a cross-platform strategy. Here are the three key differences to review:

  • Ad scheduling
  • Search partner targeting options
  • In-market audience for search campaigns

The more we know how to use the channels, the better our optimizations will be. I only mentioned a few of the differences between the two channels, but I’m sure there are plenty more we could talk about.


With the quantity of search volume on Google, it’s expected that you’re getting to face an increased amount of competition when running campaigns. Campaigns on Microsoft Advertising face approximately 36% less competition than Google Ads.

This difference can have a huge impact on your monetary value per Click (Avg. CPC), with Report Garden finding the typical CPC on Bing to be $7.99 vs $20.08 on Google. That’s about 60% less Avg. CPC on Bing.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

According to Wordstream, the average CTR on Microsoft Advertising campaigns, across all industries, is 2.83%, which is almost a50% higher CTR than Google Ads. Microsoft Ads
saw particularly high CTRs in industries offering Employment or Career services, boasting an impressive 3.53% average CTR.

Now, what must be taken into consideration here is how much is CTR really worth if you’re not getting the search volume? Sure, having a great CTR is always a plus, but if you’re only attracting 1000 impressions vs 10,000 impressions, you’re still going to be attracting less traffic to your website.


When it involves the interface/updates, Google Ads features a clear cut advantage. Microsoft Ads typically follows Google’s footsteps during this regard, examples being things like Expanded Text Ads and Structured Snippets, with Microsoft implementing these into their accounts shortly after. After all, Microsoft Advertising has the choice to import campaigns from Google, not the other way around.

Google Ads + Microsoft Advertising = Best PPC Ad Strategy for Your Business

Gone are the days of pitting Google Ads against Microsoft Advertising. The two PPC platforms work hand in hand to increase your visibility and generate leads across the two search engines. If you’re ready to test out PPC, we recommend setting up campaigns on both ad networks to see what works best for your business.

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