Case Study: Google Ads vs Microsoft Advertising

Problem

If someone searches “Personal Injury Attorney near me” do you really care what search engine they use?

The cases are worth the same, but by only advertising on Google, we’re simply leaving opportunities on the table. The question is whether or not it’s worth managing the same type of campaign on multiple platforms. Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) can’t compete on volume, but what about on value?

Running a search campaign on Google Ads is hands down one of the best ways to get in front of low-funnel, high-intent users looking to contact your law firm. When someone searches for “divorce lawyers” or “immigration attorneys,” the vast majority of users turn to Google. However, roughly ~20% of the market uses other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and DuckDuckGo. All these SERPs have ad space powered by Microsoft Advertising.

Theory

Copying a campaign from Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising is very easy – it can be done in just a few clicks. It won’t take terribly long to get the campaign up and running, and we don’t need to come up with any new strategies.

We expect impressions, clicks, conversions, and costs to decrease, due to lower volume on non-Google search engines. We also expect there is less competition using Microsoft Advertising, so cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) should be lower as well.

Results

Estate Planning Attorney in Modesto, CA

Client Summary

  • Practice Area: Estate Planning
  • Firm Size: Single location, 3 attorneys
  • Location: Downtown Modesto (Population: 214k)
  • Status: Brand new to advertising

Analysis of Change

Low Hanging Fruit Acquired! We were very surprised to see quite a few of these numbers. We never expected Microsoft Ads to deliver MORE impressions, we were shocked we didn’t capture more Search Impression Share (SIS), and both click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR) took pretty dramatic hits.

One explanation may be due to the fact that “search partners” on Microsoft operate a little differently than on Google Ads, and sometimes search ads are shown on display networks. Another possibility is that people in Modesto simply prefer Bing over Google at a much higher rate than the rest of the country. Unlikely, but possible.

Platform Cost SIS Impressions Clicks CPC CTR CVR Conv. CPA
Google Ads $2,932 77% 2,199 96 $30.54 4.4% 22% 21 $140
Microsoft Advertising $279 48% 2,826 51 $5.46 1.8% 6% 3 $93

The most important numbers – Conversions and CPA – came through exactly as expected. There were much fewer conversions, but our total CPA dropped by 34%. Combine that with the fact that there’s room for growth (missed SIS), and we’ll definitely be investing more in this channel to maximize conversions at a discounted rate.

Personal Injury Law Firm in Maine

Client Summary

  • Practice Area: Personal Injury
  • Firm Size: 3 locations, 18 attorneys
  • Location: Maine
  • Status: Established firm, long term advertiser

Analysis of Change

Lower CVR = Higher CPA. While lower spend, higher SIS, and lower CPC were all expected, we were surprised to see more impressions, lower CTR, and lower CVR.

Platform Cost SIS Impressions Clicks CPC CTR CVR Conv. CPA
Google Ads $7,085 61% 2,974 226 $31.35 7.6% 10% 22 $322
Microsoft Advertising $1,286 82% 2,608 100 $12.86 3.8% 3% 3 $429


The CPA for Microsoft Advertising was higher than Google Ads, but not by a wide margin. A single additional phone call would have put this campaign at exactly the same CPA as Google, and we’re still under the firm’s target CPA. We’ll be keeping this campaign going, but we’ll definitely be looking for ways to improve both CTR and CVR.

Conclusion

Adding Microsoft Advertising to your portfolio is a great way to get in front of valuable prospects. To our surprise, you may actually get more impressions, but it’s almost certain you’ll get fewer clicks and fewer conversions than the Google Ads campaign.

It is definitely cheaper overall (both in total spend, and CPC), but a lower CPA isn’t guaranteed.

Moving forward, these results have shown that we might want to exclude search partners if at all possible on Microsoft Advertising, as this is most likely hurting our CTR. If those placements are sending low quality traffic, that may help explain the reduced CVR, but that’s something we’ll need to spend more time looking into.