Google Adwords vs. Bing Ads for Lawyers


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The two most popular advertising platforms for lawyers today are Google Adwords and Bing Ads. If your law firm is looking to advertise online, or if you are already there, where should you be spending your ad dollars? And how much of a challenge is it to run two simultaneous campaigns?

There are different types of online ads you can place (search results, display ads on other sites, or video ads), but the one most lawyers think of when they consider advertising are for text ads in search results, such as for Cleveland personal injury lawyer.

Adwords is how Google makes most of its money. Your $5 per month for Google Apps? Barely makes a dent. Adwords? 90% of Google’s annual revenue.

Outside of ads on search result pages, Google has a large network of partner sites that can display both text and image ads on their sites (called the AdSense program). Advertisers can choose the partner sites they want to show up on, should they choose to have display ads.

Bing Ads runs ad campaigns on the Bing and Yahoo search networks. With Bing Ads, you get two search engines for the price of one. Like Google, Bing also has an extensive network of partner sites on which it can display ads.

AdWords and Bing Ads Similarities

Google and Bing both operate cost-per-click bidding systems. That is, for your ad to be in the first position in search results, you have to be willing to spend the most amount of money for that position. Think of it like an auction, or eBay — you set the bid you are willing to pay for each click. The top position goes to the highest bidder, and when someone clicks on your ad, you get charged.

Both Bing and Google’s platforms look and feel very similar. If you have used one exclusively, learning the other would not be difficult.

They also share most of the same core features. You can advertise in search or different display networks. The only core difference in display ads is that Bing does not yet allow for image or video ads.

Google Adwords Advantages

The biggest advantage for Google Adwords is that it has much more search volume than Bing Ads. Some online marketing agencies that do advertising only focus on Adwords because they find that placing and managing ads in Bing may not be worth the effort.

To be clear, this is a huge advantage. If you allocate $4,000 per month to spend on ads to get new clients, you want to spend that money. Depending on your practice area, Bing may not be generating nearly as much ad traffic.

Google also has a very robust display ad network that lets you place text, image, and video ads on Google searches, partner websites, map pages, and YouTube. With the display network, you can target demographics. You can even target specific partner websites on which you want to advertise. Advertising on the display network is not a beginner move. It is also probably not recommended for most law firms advertising online, but it can be powerful when used correctly.

Bing Advantages

Bing’s biggest advantage over Google AdWords is cheaper clicks. Because Bing isn’t as popular as Google, there is less competition. Less competition means you won’t have to spend as much per click to get the best position for your keywords.

With Bing Ads, you also get access to the Yahoo network and its partner sites. While combined it is still less than Google, this is not an insignificant amount of traffic.

One feature of both Bing and Google is that they let you target their main search engine as well as their search partners. For Google and Bing, this could mean any number of partners that allow AdWords ads to be displayed. Google only lets you choose to advertise for Google or Google plus its search partners, with no ability to customize which partners. Bing lets you choose which partners you can advertise with. You can also see exactly which partner sites are driving traffic to you.

One other interesting (or creepy, depending on how you view privacy) feature is the ability to do targeting by demographic. While Adwords does let you target by the user’s demographics for ads on its display ad network, it doesn’t for regular searches. If you want to target men for a line of ads and landing pages for divorce lawyer for men or something like that, Bing lets you do it.

Even though Bing does not have as much share of traffic as Google, it is growing while Google’s share is declining. Through its partner network of sites including Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Kindle, Bing is increasing its reach.

One possible advantage for Bing is in its typical user demographics. They skew older, are educated, and have more disposable income. For a lawyer in the right practice area, this may be a good thing.

While you may be tossing and turning over whether you should spend your time on Adwords or Bing ads, there is an easy way to test out Bing. You can easily import your Adwords campaigns into Bing Ads. With relatively minimal effort, you can give Bing Ads a try. Though, if you really want to have a successful Bing Ads campaign, more work is required to maintain it and stay competitive.

So now you know. Which ad platform is working best for you?

Image Credit: Search Engine Land


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  • Thank you for the analysis. I will have to give Bing a try. Google is awfully expensive these days.