Microsoft and Google have competed in one form or another over the last decade in the world of search and paid advertising. Between 2006 and today there have been numerous updates as the two search giants have tried tograb and maintain market share.
With the consistent growth of eCommerce, that focus has shifted toward enhanced product ads. While Google may have a significant chunk of the search market share, you shouldn’t discount or write off Bing by any means.
Even if it’s a fraction of the market share, that’s still a considerable number of people—and your customers are likely in that mix. Ignoring one over the other could cost you visibility.
The Demographics of Google vs Bing Shopping
We already know a large portion of people utilizes Google every day for search. If you’re not certain how much of your customer base uses Bing, just check out these audiencedemographics straight from Bing Ads:
160 million unique searchers (per month)
5 billion monthly searches
1/5 U.S. South Atlantic
40% between 35-54 years old
1/3 has household income of $100,000+
Think about the spending power of the average search user and consider that nearly half of Bing users have an annual household income exceeding $70k. Those are people you want to target if they fit within your audience.
Different Platforms, but Both Worthy of the Investment
When aiming to advertise your eCommerce products, it’s not always an easy decision to decide where to target your advertising. Running on multiple platforms doubles the workload of testing ad variations, monitoring campaign performance, and increasing your overall ad spend for the duration of those campaigns.
Yet, it’s the best way to hit the largest audience segments when promoting your eCommerce products. So exactly how do Google and Bing Shopping ads stack up to one another?
Cost per click is always a major consideration when running any kind of paid advertising, especially shopping ads.
You need to know how much each click costs relative to what you can afford (your max CPC); otherwise, you’re not making much from your campaigns—you might even struggle to break even.
As more businesses increase their advertising on Google, the added competition drives up the cost per click.
Here’s data from AdGooroo that shows how CPC has changed over a few years within Google AdWords.
While some industries increased far more than others, Google saw a consistent rise in CPC. On the flipside, some industries saw a drop in their CPC—including shopping.
You’ll reach a larger market with Google, and you’ll certainly be paying for that reach. Bing can allow you to run tightly focused campaigns but at a reduced cost.
Don’t let the cost of Google shopping ads make you shy away. Sears Outlet boosted in-store visitsby over 120% and had a calculated return of $8 for every dollar they spent on their shopping campaigns. It all comes down to your ad strategy.
Bing and Google shopping offer fairly similar features and functionality across the two platforms with only a select few differences.
Check this feature comparison chart from Bing showing the performance of the two shopping channels.
With all the similarities, it’s not the features that will make or break your shopping ad performance. The mastery of shopping ads comes when you set up your campaigns and position your products for success.
Start with Feed Optimization
Creating your shopping ads in Google and Bing isn’t the same as working with text ads, like in Google AdWords.
Rather than creating campaigns and ad groups with targeted keywords, shopping campaigns on both platforms are targeted based on your product feed.
From there, Google and Bing determine when your product ads will be displayed. The key elements used to decide if your product appears for specific search queries include:
Your product feed
The domain/eCommerce store
Your ad bidding
SEO is still an important part of your ad setup. A well-configured feed ensures that your products show up for the right search queries, helps you earn more clicks, and makes management and future optimization of your products that much easier.
Whether you advertise on Google or Bing, there are key elements you want to optimize properly within your feed to maximize the odds of your product ads popping.
Product title – Your title should be concise and descriptive of the product so Google and Bing know when to show your ads. Include your top keywords here that are product specific, and be sure to use the name of the product.
Since long tail searches indicate more purchase intent, you should try to use color, gender, brand, model number, and size to differentiate your product titles.
Product description – Don’t try to write a lengthy description to push your product. Describe the product as best you can, fit in your relevant keywords, and think about the benefit statements that will help sell a customer on the product.
Front load the most important information at the beginning of your description to set the hook early.
Product categories – Choose the best category that closely matches your product. This is one more way for the shopping ad platforms to determine when to show your products. You don’t get to define your own category and, instead, must choose from what is already listed.
Product type – There are thousands of categories to pick from and, if you had a tough time configuring that aspect, then product type is critical to getting your ad to show for the right customers.
Product image – Shopping is a very visual experience, even offline. Use high-quality images that are compelling. Don’t try to include watermarks or logos that could distract from your images. It makes it harder to judge an item when it’s just a thumbnail.
Depending on your product, try to include a person in the image using it, wearing it, etc. One study shared byJeremy Smith revealed how one organizationboosted conversions by 95% by including pictures of artists with products.
Keep Quality Score in Mind
Both Google and Bing use a 10-point system for scoring ad and landing page content. Think of it as their way of incentivizing advertisers to make better quality ads.
If the quality score of your ads is high, you’ll pay less per click and your ads will be far more visible over competitors witha lower quality score.
The quality score of text ads is transparent, but it’s not readily visible for shopping ads. While you can’t see it, every product in your store will have a quality score.
For text ads, a quality score is based on three things:
Click through rates
The landing page connected to your ad
For your products, you’re looking at feed relevance vs. ad relevance but, otherwise, the same elements will apply to your quality score.
Use this as motivation. Spend extra time and create a great listing for each product by optimizing your feed.
Bid on Product Ads with Confidence
Aside from creating a well-optimized feed, bidding is likely the most important part of creating your shopping ad campaigns.
If you’re strategic in your bidding, you have a tremendous amount of control over which search queries your products appear for.
Once you know the max CPC you can afford, bidding becomes super simple.
Sales Price – Cost of Goods Sold = Available Profit
Available Profit x Conversion Rate = Max CPC
Max CPC x (between .4 to .75) = Initial CPC Bid
Shopify offers a great example of this calculation at work: Let’s say you sell a product that retails for $100 and has a cost of $50. Let’s also say that your conversion rate is at an industry average 2%. Here’s how the calculation would work:
$100 (Price) – $50 (Cost of Goods Sold) = $50 (in Available Profit)
Ad extensions are a great way to call extra attention to your ads, and they cost absolutely nothing to use. Just make sure the extensions you utilize support the goal of your advertisements.
Some of the extensions you can use include:
Special promotions and coupon offers shown directly in the shopping ad
Local inventory call outs
Product ratings and reviews curating from around the web for your product
Product callouts relating to feed info, such as listing “free shipping”
Shopify offers a quick visual guide for adding extensions to your product ads. More extensions are likely to come as Google works on rolling out new features to support shopping ads.
Don’t Forget to Incorporate Retargeting
It can be costly to go only after new customers with shopping ads—or any kind of paid advertising. For eCommerce, retargeting is one of the most powerful forms of marketing because it has such a high conversion rate with greatly reduced costs.
Research has shown that it works, with70% of retargeting customers converting. It works because you’re showing targeted product ads to customers who have already interacted with your brand and showed interest in specific products.
Through a tracking pixel, brands are seeing conversion rates 5 and 6 times higher (or more) by targeting customers who abandoned their cart or took other specified actions (like viewing a particular product) on their websites.
Getting your ads to pop and winning those clicks in Google and Bing are just the first steps to converting the search user to a shopper—after the click, they’re taken to your product page or landing page.
You have a lot more control over the conversion process here, so make sure the relevancy between your product ad and your landing page is high. Create a seamless, engaging, and high-converting product page by following these best practices:
1. Sell with Images
Your customers want to experience a product before they purchase it. Since they can’t turn it over and examine it in their hands, you need to sell the product visually.
Include high-quality images in your product pages, providing pictures of the product from multiple angles.
In a case study from VWO, one online retailer was able to boost sales by 9.46% without a single dime spent on advertising—all the company did was increase the size of product images.
2. Leverage Social Proof
The majority of customers who shop online are influenced by the words of their peers and online reviews.According to Marketing Land, 90% of consumers shop this way.
Make sure product reviews and testimonials are readily visible on your product pages. You’ve already won their interest in your product from your shopping ad. Ease friction with social proof to get them to convert.
Express Watches implemented social proof with reviews on its product pages and saw a 58.29% increase in conversion rates—that’s a significant spike just from showing that other customers were satisfied with their purchase.
3. Focus on Benefit Statements
Your audience research should give you clear insight into their pain points and major concerns. You can use this for more than keyword optimization.
Use it to tweak your product features so they clearly state the benefits of your products. Those short, punchy benefit statements not only communicate the value of your products, they show the customer what they’re missing out on if they don’t make the purchase.
Rather than trying to decide which platform is better for setting up shopping ads, consider utilizing both. The setup is very similar, with both Google and Bing offering near identical features to expansive audiences.
By running shopping ad campaigns on both and following the simple tips above for optimizing your feed and landing pages, you greatly increase the potential reach and conversion of your ad campaigns.
Have you run shopping ads on Google or Bing in the past? What has been your experience with these platforms so far?
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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