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Bing vs. Google

Bing is the latest player in the search engine marketing game. Since Bing launched last year, a few notable differences between Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter have emerged. To start, Bing ads are less expensive than Google ads. The reason why? Being the new kid in town means fewer advertisers and a smaller search volume. However, Bing’s share of search engine traffic is consistently rising (up 4% in the last month) and this share will continue to increase, forecasted to be up at least an additional 15% as Bing merges with Yahoo!.

Bing users have the option to target ads by age and gender, an option Google lacks.  Additionally, a recent study shows that of the two powerhouse search engines, Bing may be the more user-friendly design, especially given its “organizing and refining” options. This design includes more sponsored ad content at the top of the page whereas Google tends to place more sponsored ads on the side. The significance of ad placement is supported by several studies that show users tend to focus on the ads up top rather than on the side. Not to mention that Bing allows you to import your current Google AdWords campaigns directly into an AdCenter account, making it super easy to transition to Bing.

Despite the numerous benefits of Bing, there are still quite a few perks to Google AdWords. Google can reach a global audience, while Bing is currently limited to the U.S., U.K., Canada and Singapore, and only offering ads in French and English. So, for companies with a global clientèle across multiple languages, Google remains the obvious choice.

Given Google's extensive background in pay per click (PPC) advertising, most users believe that the AdWords interface is stronger and easier to use, whereas Bing's AdCenter isn't quite there yet. Additionally, Google offers a number of analytics that Bing doesn't, in particular, sales value (Bing works off conversion rates). Plus, there's the ongoing Google redesign, which is hoping to merge the Google model that has worked so well with the successful traits of Bing. It's safe to say that Google is watching Bing carefully and strategizing their next move.

Bottom line: Bing is definitely an up-and-comer; however, the planned merger with Yahoo! is already rumored to take longer than expected and will most likely present a host of technological hold-ups along the way. Launching a Bing ad campaign is definitely a worthwhile investment. Current advertisers are seeing a higher ROI with Bing and ad costs are still low. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that Bing has a lower search volume and fewer advertisers. And while Google may be tried and true, the search engine giant recognizes the power of Bing and is making strides to adapt to the competition.

Best case scenario? Keep successful Google campaigns running and switch smaller campaigns over to Bing to test those waters. Monitor, analyze and keep an eye out for more changes from both Google and Bing before the end of 2010.