Ask anyone to hop on the internet and search for a place to eat dinner or local movie times, and a few predictable things are bound to happen. The first thing that is bound to happen is the phrase “Google local Chinese food restaurants” is going to come out of someone’s mouth. Even if that specific request isn’t made, the person conducting the search is very likely to hop on over to Google.com to enter that search query.
It is a given in 21st century America that web surfers are going to use Google’s high powered, ever present search engine to look for something on the internet. Web surfers at home and SEO professionals in the workplace know this fact, and the statistics prove it. Google handles two-thirds of search queries in the U.S. each year, but there is competition that could be growing.
A recent report from AdGooRoo sought to gauge the success of the Yahoo! Bing network in gaining market share against Google. Few web users even realize that the Yahoo! Bing network accounts for nearly one-third of the search queries in the U.S., representing the next largest share of the market behind Google.
The report from AdGooRoo compared the performance of Yahoo! Bing against Google in six critical metric areas. The areas, known as verticals, were used to compare the performance of paid search on the Yahoo! Bing network’s Bing Ads program compared to Google’s vaunted AdWords. The verticals measured included the following areas:
- Financial Services
- Computer and Internet
- Business to Business
AdGooRoo poured through information and data from U.S. advertisers during Q3 of 2012 to compile the report and while it served to reinforce some complaints advertisers have with Bing Ads, the data revealed some surprises as well.
As many advertisers have complained in the past, Bing Ads is grossly outgunned in the Shopping and Classified (Retail) section of ad impressions by AdWords. While losing out in one vertical isn’t a death blow, the Shopping and Classified vertical is the biggest money-maker for advertisers and the race for top dog wasn’t even close.
AdWords served up 18.66 million ad impressions in this vertical during Q3 compared to 11.35 million for Bing Ads. Although Bing Ads performed admirably in this vertical, AdWords still outpaced Bing Ads by 7.3 million impressions in Q3 alone.
However, Bing Ads performed strongly against AdWords in several other verticals in terms of ad impressions. Bing Ads outperformed AdWords in the Financial Services vertical with 5.31 million impressions compared to 4.11 million for AdWords. Analysts credit the popularity of Financial Services on Yahoo! and MSN, which redirect to Bing, for pushing Bing Ads into the lead.
While Bing Ads didn’t surpass AdWords in ad impressions in any of the remaining verticals, it was a close race in Travel, Education, Computers and Internet, and Business. The news was not so bright for Bing Ads in other arenas however. Most notable was Bing Ads’ failure to compete in terms of Click-through-Rates (CTRs).
AdWords provided greater CTRs compared to Bing Ads in all six verticals, and the competition wasn’t even close. AdWords provided CTRs that were anywhere from 2.4 to 5.2 times higher than Bing Ads in any given category. The biggest discrepancies came in Financial Services (3.53% compared to .81%), Travel (4.14% to 1.27%), and Business to Business (3.12% to .60%).
Google’s dominance in CTR numbers was attributed to a better ad serving system with AdWords, but another factor could be the recent changes made to AdWords early in 2013. Advertisers have greater customization controls with AdWords than with Bing Ads, allowing advertisers to better target certain niches.
Not surprisingly, there is a price to be paid for Google’s long reach and successful track record with AdWords. AdGooRoo’s report found that advertisers paid a higher average Cost-per-Click (CPC) on AdWords compared to Bing Ads. While CPC data was fairly close in each vertical, the Computer and Internet vertical saw a CPC rate on AdWords that was 117% greater than Bing Ads.
Altogether, the report from AdGooRoo wasn’t all bad news for Bing Ads. It was found that among the 39,000 advertisers surveyed, 55% of them were running ad campaigns on both AdWords and Bing Ads. The Shopping and Classified vertical lead the pack with the greatest crossover among advertisers, followed by the Financial Services vertical.
Multiple reports and news stories have pointed out Google’s strangle hold on the search engine market in the U.S., but AdGooRoo’s report does show that the Yahoo! Bing network is at least gaining some traction. Until such a time as Bing begins to offer advertisers and users more options and chip away at Google’s brand image, the Yahoo! Bing network is likely to retain its one-third share of the search market.