‘Bing’ is a word that rarely crosses my mind as a marketeer –  it is familiar yet futile. It is the slow and agitating reminder in the back of the brain, screaming ‘I am here, do something with me!’ loud enough to distract, but not demanding enough to maintain attention.

On a recent visit to see a client, I was talking through the opportunity and return Google Ads could bring him and his business. We jumped on his laptop and to my surprise when I opened his browser (on mac!) Bing popped up in front of me!

With between 6 – 25% of searches taking place on the provider within the UK in 2018 (with the higher estimation being from Bing themselves), the engine is big name, small time in terms of market share. As an industry, many of us ignore the site – turning to the tech giant Google to drive large traffic numbers and larger revenue contributions. But here is where we missed this trick..

Nearly 40% of Bing’s network audience is between 35-54 years old. In the marketing world, that means money.

Older audiences are often more affluent – and this assumption is backed up by Bing’s own statistics. In the US, Bing predicts that at least 38% of their users earn upwards of $100,000 per annum, While this particular demographic provides the obvious benefits to businesses (more expendable income meaning increased likelihood to convert for retail) it also provides opportunity for other sectors. Employment and career services thrive on Bing due to the high proportion of the platform’s market having received bachelor degree; B2B providers benefit from a more focused network and finance & insurance companies are able to reach their target customers with less effort needed.

While Google allows us the reach these audiences, we have to find our way to them. We have to sift through the 3.5 billion searches per day – creating lists upon lists to add and exclude those we don’t want, all while Bing could be taking us directly to those we do want.

Some agencies proclaim that they see a higher conversion rate on Bing for their clients, but we shouldn’t take this sweeping statement as gospel. First of all, we all know conversion rate is dependent on a multitude of factors – and most businesses that are able to employ large agencies for their digital marketing are also likely pumping large amounts into both their PPC and SEO channels in order to maintain strong positions. Furthermore, the rule of thumb also says that there is a sweet spot between traffic figures and orders numbers, which mean that Bing’s smaller audience size leads to a benefit in their CVR.

In short, it might drive high return, but it won’t drive high revenue figures.

Nonetheless, Bing is an often under-estimated channel within digital marketing.  While is does not have the size or scope of Google, it offers an audience that could be more likely to be engaged with your product or service. It’s updates are often 10 steps behind Google’s – but Bing keeps stepping.

As Amazon’s marketing capabilities grow, and Google scrabbles to increase it’s opportunity, it could begin to do something it has never done before – put profits above user experience (please see the paid for location listing now in Beta across the space previously occupied by Google My Business users).  This, alongside the growing distrust for Google – fuelled by uncompetitive practises within the CSS market and the launch of the Google Home assistant which may or not be listening to you at all times – has led to users slowly but surely stray away from the search engine.

These users have to go somewhere – and while the floodgates may not be opening as of yet, with all the potential benefits Bing are currently offering, I say we get ahead of the curve here.

…Bing, you have our attention.

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