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Google Ads Vs Microsoft Ads A rivalry as old as time.

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Sure they are famous adversaries, a bit of a Jacob or Edward situation, but you need to make sure you pay close attention to both when managing your PPC’s. There are a lot of settings that are similar in both when managing your campaigns, but the way Microsoft ads work in the channel can differ to how Google Ads may operate. So, While both channels have a lot of similarities on how you would set up your Search campaigns, there are a few very clear differences between the two channels. Let’s unpack them and optimise your ecommerce campaigns in both!


Ad scheduling helps you manage and target your ad’s in real time, making bid adjustments where necessary. Advertisers can choose what time of day and what day of the week they want their users to see their ads on Google or Bing. Here’s the thing, advertisers need to be aware that they are not making the same Ad adjustments in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. They are different channels, so you need to be alert to how ads function on both to get all the benefits from your ecommerce. Check the Data in both.

So, head to Google Ads, to your scheduling page and scroll all the way down. Google will remind you what timezone your account is, this is because your ad schedule in Google Ads is based on the time zone you selected when you embraked on your epic advertising quest. So if you selected Eastern time and you are Scheduling your Ads so people see them in the US while they are sipping on their coffee, bare in mind that Clive in London is having a flying dream and smiling in his sleep.

Now let’s head over to Microsoft Ads, scroll down to your advanced settings- and you'll see; Ad scheduling works differently in these parts. Highlight over the Ad scheduling question mark at the top right corner of your scheduling timetable and see ‘the what you need to know’ section. It clearly states:

“Targeting times are based on the location of the person searching for or viewing your Ad.”

So you can still target the entire US say from 8am to 5am and not have several campaigns to execute this.

I say again; you cannot make the same blanket scheduling regimes on both Google and Microsoft- to optimise your PPC’s pay attention to both channels independently.


Both Google Ads and Microsoft ads both have search partner networks. These are companion sites that allow Advertisers to expand their reach with their PPC’s. In this section there are a few key differences between google and microsoft; and the strategies you need to implement when managing your campaigns in both.

Not only do the actual partner networks differ, but the way we can target each network is different too. Google has hundreds of search partner networks- remember Ask Jeeves? He is still dignified, all knowing and a Butler, but now he works for Google. Youtube is also another of Google’s search partner networks.

Google will automatically set up your campaigns to be scattered across all of their search partner networks- this is the downside of this feature. Google has an all in or all out attitude when dealing with search partner network distribution. You cannot target.

Head to Microsoft Ads, we are the Ad group level here, so head to your Ad group section. Scroll down to “Ad distribution” under the heading “Other Settings”. Now you can see that, besides bing, your ads will show up on the AOL and Yahoo search networks. Unlike Google you cannot select your Ad’s to show up exclusively on, this is a bummer. You have to pick the trifecta of Bing, Yahoo and AOL. But what is good about Microsoft is that if you see one of your campaigns performing significantly better on one of these syndicated search networks, Microsoft gives you the ability to use a targeting only targeting method for your Ad groups. It also gives you the option to only target the syndicated search partners, giving your ad campaign the opportunity to split out into separate ad groups. So in one Ad group you can keep your ad’s running across all channels, and in another Ad group divide it into all the syndicated search partner networks.

This is a big difference in how you can optimise your campaigns in how you can optimise your campaigns in Microsoft Ads to try and maximise performance as much as is possible on this particular channel.


The third difference we are going to talk about is In Market Audiences for Search. If you want to bid differently to groups of users who are more likely to be actively researching or ready to buy in a specific category of products or services Google Ads or Microsoft Ads both allow advertisers to add in-Market audiences to the search Network campaigns.

You also have the option to use these audiences from a targeting or observation capacity in our settings. (Microsoft calls Observation Audiences; Bid Only) In both of the channels we can also increase bids on these audiences by up to 900 percent or decrease by up to 90 percent. Any more and you’ll get an error message and you will have to correct it. So the main function of how you implement these audiences is pretty much the same between the two channels.

Now what the major difference about in Market audiences Microsoft Ads and Google Ads are the actual options we have to add to the campaigns. Both Google and Microsoft Ads have help sections where we can download the entire list of in market audiences available.

For Google we have a link to the support page about audience targeting- If you scroll down, click on the In Market Audiences option you can click the CSV link. After this an excel file will automatically download. If you click on the file you will get a list of all in market audiences in the list of networks that we can use each of the in market audiences. This helps you narrow down which in market audiences and which networks you can use for your campaigns.

Now, back to Microsoft. Bill Gates has also given you a nice help page here, thank you Bill. Again this page is talking about in- market audiences. Microsoft Ads has a question section about what in-market audience categories are available. We can click on the link and Microsoft will give you, like Google, an excel document where we can get all the in market audiences we can utilise in Microsoft Ads. Microsoft will let you know how many we can use per country and you can see on the search network. Even though Microsoft has fewer potential in-market audiences, that does not mean that all of the options they give you can be found in Google. There are some unique audiences that can only be found in Microsoft. So take some time making sure you are making the most of your campaigns by cross referencing the in Market audiences on both channels. You may have missed something!

The takeaway message is to be attentive to both channels. You may be prioritising Google over Microsoft or vice versa and that’s fine, but to optimise your online ad campaigns you’ve got to spend a little time going through both and adjusting your settings accordingly.

To learn more about Paid Ads and how effective it can be for you, click on the link and you will be directed to our main page for more details.

If you would like to know more about Google's and Microsoft's ads, contact Regal Roye today and we'll get you started.

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