Here’s The Thing With Bing

Despite its image, pay-per-click marketing on Bing might be just what you’re looking for.

The problem with Bing is that people in the tech community still think of it as MSN. If you didn’t know, the M in MSN stands for Microsoft, and that word still sends technologically minded people into a catatonic state. Microsoft spent years – decades, really – ingratiating itself to normal users (in particular, business people) while simultaneously alienating the coders, programmers and other nerds who were asked to work with their products behind the scenes (in a fascinating bit of irony, see present-day Apple for a startlingly similar approach to the art of burning bridges). As a result, Microsoft was almost universally regarded as the least cool tech company in the history of tech companies. MSN could never quite get that monkey off its back, so Bing was born in a last ditch attempt at re-branding.

While Bing still isn’t challenging Google for the title of search champion, at least it hasn’t been pulled into the great search engine vortex that has consumed the likes of Web Crawler, Alta Vista, and even Yahoo. In fact, for certain target audiences and products, Bing can be an excellent vehicle for your message. I didn’t find that out right away, however. While I was never a card-carrying Microsoft hater, I was a huge fan of Google Adwords for delivering PPC messages. After all, it’s hard to argue with the kind of volume that Google can deliver.

A few years ago I was looking for an innovative way to expand the audience for a client of ours who sells mainly to financially secure, middle-aged men. This sounded sort of like a typical MSN user, so I thought I would give Bing a try. What’s the worst that could happen? Nobody clicks? Well, since I was using the PPC model, that would cost us nothing. In other words, it wasn’t much of gamble, but it certainly paid off.

Our click-thru rate (one of the more basic measurements of a PPC campaign) was almost double on Bing when compared to Google. Our message and the products it was selling resonated with Bing users, and the results were excellent. Since then, I’ve employed Bing for several other clients (with similar target markets), and I’ve been very happy with the results. The moral of the story is this: only a product’s target audience can decide the worth of a medium. In other words, don’t get caught up in what the world thinks of a media vehicle, take stock in what the product’s users think of a media vehicle. If your target audience reads the newspaper, then you better put your message in the newspaper, no matter how old-fashioned it seems.

So there you have it. Do your homework on your target market. Compare that to the audience that Bing delivers, then give it a try if it makes sense. Better yet, give me a call and let me help you out. Together, we may be able to teach an old dog some new tricks.