Google commands the lion’s share of the search engine market, but Bing now has grown to 31% of the market share. While some may write Bing off as a viable marketing option, 31% of searchers is hard to ignore. This growth has prompted business owners, including our own clients to ask, “Should I market on Bing?”
Before you make a decision, consider the following:
Who Are Bing Searchers?
There is a lot of circumstantial data and bad assessments that have led to incorrect stereotypes of Bing users, particularly that they are not “techy” and are “old” and “uneducated” searchers. However, there are some assessments of Bing searchers that do have some validity. Microsoft has made assessing Bing users very easy by releasing a site that shows what the engine’s audience looks like.
Are You Trying to Reach an Educated Audience?
Bing’s data reveals that nearly one-third of the Bing Ads audience graduated from college. Additionally, nearly one-fifth of the audience attended or graduated from graduate school. While Bing may not be used for a tech-centered audience that is constantly trying new operating systems and search engines, it is most certainly a place to reach an educated audience.
Are You Marketing to an Older Audience?
Not all buyer personas are focused around the 18 to 24 range. Depending on your product or services offered, Bing can be great option. I worked on a marketing project for a retirement care planning company a few years back. Part of the buyer persona that was created for the project was a 35+ year old son or daughter that was helping their parent(s) figure out the care that they were going to need. With 40% of the Bing audience being between 35-54 years old, it would be foolish to not consider using paid advertising on Bing in some capacity.
Are You Marketing to a Higher Income Audience?
This goes off of the last point with younger buyer personas. Some products and services appeal or are better suited to different income levels. Microsoft's data shows that one-third of the Bing Network audience has a household income of $100,000 or more. Having a larger pool of higher income searchers could be beneficial, particulary if you are running a Google Adwords campaign and haven't seen adequate traffic or are receiving unqualified leads. This can also be valuable data for businesses in the financial planning or retirement sector.
Are You Marketing to a Microsoft-centric Environment?
We live in a world of competing tech ecosystems. Here at Papercut, we would be considered a Google-centric environment. We use Google Drive for our files and documents, Gmail for email, and Chrome as our primary browser. For us, and a lot of other web-based tech and marketing companies, Google offers the best tools to get our jobs done. I feel, though, that many marketers forget about another tech ecosystem, the Microsoft-centric environment. Over 87% of Bing searchers come from Internet Explorer, which I believe can be attributed in part to the enterprise-class customizations found in Internet Explorer. While Microsoft’s usage has waned a bit in recent years, the company still dominates a lot of business infrastructures, largely due to these enterprise features. If you are a business to business company or have a high amount of traffic coming from Internet Explorer, Bing is definitely something you want to consider.
What’s Your Budget?
Due to its market share, Bing Ads offers a more affordable cost per click than Google AdWords. While this is compelling, Bing shouldn’t be a business's primary online marketing tool. If budgets are tight, reaching Google and its larger network of users should be your first priority. Bing Ads should be seen as a complementary marketing tool to online campaigns that are already succeeding on Google AdWords and even Facebook Ads. It’s a great way to expand your marketing message, but not something that you should rely on for the totality of your online marketing strategy.
Bing Can Be Valuable
The bottom line is this: if your customers are using Bing and you have the budget, you should consider Bing Ads. Don’t discount the engine because of preconceived notions of its users. When it comes to digital marketing, it pays to be where your customers are.
This has been edited since its original publication on October 30, 2015. The most recent edit was conducted on September 14, 2016 to include the latest market share data (the original post had 21% market share) and to include the holdhold income section.