All Search Engine Traffic Is Not Created Equal

A newcomer to search engine marketing can easily assume that all search engines (e.g., Google and Microsoft) behave similarly. Lee Corso (an ESPN analyst covering College Game Day) said this: . . “Not so fast, my friends!” We will be discussing the differences between Microsoft and Google and their shopping engines and search engines, mobile, and desktop, to help optimize your efforts. As you will read, there are many things that you should not be doing. In reverse, there are many things that you shouldn’t be doing right now.

Google vs. Microsoft

First of all, reach is the most significant difference between Google & Microsoft. Google is materially bigger than Microsoft (which includes Bing and Yahoo traffic and AOL traffic). Statista reports that this difference is approximately 63% for Google and 25% for Microsoft in the United States. Google, therefore, is 2.5 times as big. That would suggest you should put your efforts into Google first to reach more people. Although it may be true, everyone else believes the same. Microsoft has less competition, so that you might get more clicks at a lower cost per click. 

The demographics of the two networks are vastly different. Google tends to attract a younger, more educated, higher-income audience and a more tech-savvy audience. Microsoft tends to attract an older audience with less education and lower income, who are more likely than others to have kids. Depending on your product offerings, it might not be necessary for your business (e.g., either audience watches movies). However, this demographic difference may be an issue for your business. For example, a product aimed at Baby Boomers could perform better on Microsoft.

You will also notice a change in how you attract users from countries other than the United States. If you target customers outside the United States, Google’sGoogle’s international reach will be significantly more extensive than Microsoft’sMicrosoft’s.

Search vs. Shopping

We want to be clear: search ads are sponsored listings that appear at the top of search engine results after entering a keyword. These are usually textual links. Shopping ads are product listings that appear in these search engines’ “shopping” sections (e.g., These are primarily visual product images and loaded to the search engines using a direct feed from your website using feed management tools like Feedonomics DataFeedWatch. If you are selling products on eCommerce, it is natural to advertise in both sections. You can get your link to “chairs” and your image of the chair SKUs you sell in the shopping results.

It may work for you. Or it may not, as we found out with Restaurant Furniture Plus. In that case, the shopping section was more about attracting customers than commercial buyers. The average order size was different between the two units. For example, $500 for shopping and $5,000 for search. It was also easier to maximize revenue, profitability, and return on ad spending by focusing only on search. This will depend on the keen on your business. Decide what is best for your business.

B2C or B2B?

This search vs. Shopping topic is closely related to the implications for businesses that are B2C or B2B. Let’sLet’s take the Restaurant Furniture Plus case and say that they were advertising chairs. Chairs are essential for restaurants. However, they are also required by customers in their own homes. Their advertising of “chairs” was not enough to compete with many large consumer brands (e.g., Pottery Barn and Wayfair) that were trying to reach the same “chairs” keywords. Big brands are more powerful marketing tools and have more significant repeat buying potential. These consumers are more likely to purchase other products over time. This meant that big brands were prepared to pay more for these leads. After they turned off their shopping feed and changed the generic “chairs” keywords to more specific “restaurant seats,” “commercial chairs,” and “foodservice chairs,” they began to optimize for B2B. Someone must create the “B2B Only Search Engine” because you can’t usually get that level in keyword targeting with the existing search engine tools.

Desktop vs. Mobile

Digital marketing was starting back in 2000. There wasn’t even a smartphone. The majority of traffic came from desktop PCs. Over the past 20-years, many companies have seen searches via mobile phones surpass searches made from desktop computers. This is thanks to the innovations of Apple and Android as well as Samsung. This is because most businesses have made their mobile experience more responsive to desktop than to mobile. The search engine algorithms create search results differently depending on whether the user experience is different for mobile and desktop channels.

Check out this Google tool to see how fast your site is on mobile and desktop. Google may not publish mobile advertising if it thinks that your mobile site is slow (in comparison to your desktop website) or if you provide a poor user experience. For the best results, your mobile site must be “mobile-first.”

Text (Prospecting) vs. Display (Retargeting).

They let you purchase display ads that you can publish to users who visit other sites within the same advertising network. There are many variations here. What you can say in a few words is not the same as what you can display in an image. This image will be shown to users who have already seen your brand once. Therefore, they are more likely than ever to engage with the second impression picture ad. You are missing out on many good opportunities for success if you do not simultaneously run display retargeting advertisements if you plan to run a search campaign.

With Reviews vs. Without

Google has put a lot of emphasis on social media over the years. It has influenced how it publishes ads as well as how it ranks websites for organic traffic. One of the most important drivers is data from customers’ reviews. The reviews must come from their trusted review vendors to credibility the thoughts and prove that you didn’t fake them.

One of the benefits of working with a trusted third-party review vendor is that, if your reviews exceed 100, Google will include those reviews (e.g., summary five-star score) alongside your organic search result and paid search links. This can do two things. First, it increases your credibility vs. the other links on a page, increasing the chances the customer clicks on those links. Second, and most importantly, it can reduce your cost per customer acquisition by 15% on average, with a higher chance of converting to sales. You need to ensure that you have a strategy for customer reviews to make search engines more likely and increase your chances of being promoted to you. This will help you optimize your ROI.

General vs. Custom Audiences

To date, most people relied on search engines for the target audience. Search engines now give you more information about who is being targeted in the latest versions of search marketing. You can, for example, give your “allowed email marketer” list of email targets to them. They will match it with their users and target advertising to only those users. This is great for targeting existing customer email accounts or prospect emails. You can also give them a list of industry websites your potential customers are visiting target advertising to those visitors. It’sIt’s pretty amazing! This is a fantastic idea! Make sure you have your customized audiences set up in your campaigns.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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