Post by Carrie Sheeran, Media Director

Advertisers are constantly comparing Google vs. Bing. While Google is often regarded as the gold standard for paid search campaigns—in terms of audience volume, ad formats, targeting capabilities, etc.—advertisers often overlook a number of unique Bing features that can be used to accelerate performance.

The differences are often in the deep details of Bing Ads, optimization levers that operate slightly differently from Google AdWords. In aggregate, Bing Ads provides more granularity than AdWords in certain areas. Here’s five tactical optimizations unique to Bing, as well as what they could mean for your campaigns:

1. Ad Group-Level Targeting Settings

Advertisers can target geographic areas at the ad group level with Bing. In AdWords, geographic targeting is only at the campaign level. Additional targeting settings available at the ad group level in Bing but not AdWords include network, location, and language.

What It Means for Performance
Ad Group targeting granularity can help advertisers reach the right customer in the right location and improve efficiency of search programs. Geo-targeting can reduce wasted cost in areas known not to perform well.

2. Device Targeting Settings – Tablet Bid Modifiers

On Bing, advertisers may increase tablet bids to 300% of the desktop bid, or decrease to -20% of the desktop bid. Google doesn’t allow the application of a tablet-specific bid modifiers.

What It Means for Performance
Tablet bid modifiers enable advertisers to potentially pounce on strong tablet performance. If an advertiser sees strong conversion on tablets but not desktops, this could be a key differentiator to drive results on Bing, which isn’t possible on Google.

3. Search Network Flexibility

Bing offers transparency and control of where ads show on its search network, and this enables us to control network sites that have historically high CPCs. Bing allows advertisers to suppress sites on its search network and syndication partners. On Google, advertisers are able to target the search network and search partners, but aren’t able to see performance of the individual sites or exclude syndication or search network partner sites.

What It Means for Performance
With more granular reporting and targeting opportunities on the Bing search network and partners, advertisers can pick and choose sites based on efficiency or performance. On Google, you’re either all in to the entire network, or all out.

4. Time Zone Targeting

Bings enables time-zone targeting at the campaign level. Advertisers can assign different campaigns to different time zones, which can help with complex ad scheduling and improve cost efficiencies.

What It Means for Performance
Time zone targeting by campaign for sophisticated ad scheduling could reduce wasted cost and improve program efficiency.

5. Close Variants Option

Google applies the close variant match rule to all exact and phrase keywords, but Bing still gives advertisers the option to select only exact matches and not close variations of the exact match keywords on which ads should appear.

What It Means for Performance
Advertisers can be certain ads only appear for the exact variation of keywords on which they are bidding. The addition of exact match variations expands reach, but excluding these variations could be important for an advertiser who may be looking for ways to limit costs.

These Bing features prove that engine-specific difference still indeed exist. When thinking about performance across engines, keep in mind that the granularity of Bing can often be your friend.