August 7, 2013

Is Bing worth thinking about?

The only time I tend to think about Bing is if/when I see one of their ads. Google seems to have taken over the world and it is the first thing that comes to the mind of most marketers when you hear the words “online marketing”.

And, it wasn’t until recently when I came across the info Alexa has for the 2 search engines, and the differences between their demographics that got me thinking that there are certainly instances where Bing should be made a part of your online marketing mix.

Age

Bing’s main audience is between the ages of 45 and over whereas Google (and Yahoo) tend to cater to a much younger target audience.   For a product or service (Example, Saga)  that primarily caters to the older audience group, it makes sense to allocate at least a certain percentage of your marketing budget towards Bing. The quality of traffic and leads generated as well the cost-benefit and ROI from Bing, in such an instance should all be higher than Google.

This difference in the age groups of the 2 search engines also results in some other key differences which can make an impact into the overall effectiveness of your marketing strategy:

Location / Time

Not surprisingly then, a higher percentage of Bing users are likely to be using the internet from home rather than school or work. Whilst this shouldn’t have any direct implications to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan, you should consider your Pay Per Click (PPC) budget allocation, if PPC is part of your marketing mix.

Most well-run or professionally managed PPC campaigns are configured so that the majority of the ads appear during the times, the prospect is most likely to visit the website and take some form of action and this will vary based on the product offered, price and so on.  For example, based on our own experience managing PPC campaigns for clients,  an expensive products, and especially services tend to get the best quality of traffic and therefore, conversions from 8:00pm – 2:00am. This is most likely due to the fact that high-income earners who could afford the service only have the spare time to research and make a purchase for leisure activities around this timeframe.

In the case of Bing and if your target market is the older age group, it makes sense to have the majority of your PPC ads running from 11:00am – 3:00pm during which time, this age group is most likely to be using the web (We don’t have publicly available stats to confirm this but this is what we have found after looking at the Google Analytics data of our various clients who serve this age group).

Education

Most probably a result of the age differences amongst the users of the 2 search engines, the education level of the average Bing user is less than that of Google.

Depending on your business offering, it may make sense to take this into account. For example, if you are offering training courses in computers, its more likely that you’ll find your target audience at Bing than Google. And yes, whilst the market size of your audience is going to be less at Bing, the quality should be higher, resulting in less Cost Per Acquisition.

 

Quality of leads

The default search engine for most internet users in the UK is Google. Bing is the default search engine that comes as a pre-set in most PCs.

Most tech-savvy individuals (which usually tend to be in the younger age group of 18 – 34) will immediately change from Bing to Google on their computers. This isn’t that common amongst the older age group (which to a certain extent plays a part in Bing’s market share of this age group).

Therefore, using Bing as a marketing channel to reach the older age group may keep the quality of leads and conversions higher.

Gender

Bing has a higher amount of users who are women than Google.

As with the other differences listed above, it may make sense to take this into account if your target market comprises of women primarily.

China

Bing gets 3 times more traffic from China than Google (most likely as a result of the problems Google has had with Chinese governments).

In this case, Bing can help increase the volume and quality of leads for companies who are offering products or services which may be of interest to the Chinese population.

I’m sure you can make many more inferences form the above data.  Apart from the obvious, another take-away from this is the total Return on Investment (ROI).  It is easier to carry out SEO for Bing and the Cost Per Clicks for ads are cheaper.  If your customer demographics are very similar to Bing, then the leads and enquiries you generate via Bing will be higher and the ad spend should be lower.

All in all, this could make a significant and positive difference to your marketing ROI.

PS.  Entrepreneur.com has a helpful post on this topic at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217201.