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6 Myths Busted About Microsoft Ads

Discover the truth about Microsoft Ads in this myth-busting blog post. From effectiveness to audience reach, find out why it's a must-consider platform.

Published on

Jun 07, 2024

Written by

Sophie Fell

Let’s be honest, Microsoft Ads gets a bad rap. A clunky UI and being a carbon copy (in the worst way) of Google Ads previously has made Microsoft Ads a bit of a laughing stock. In fact, a lot of agencies won’t even touch Microsoft Ads.

But, here at Two Trees, we’re proud to be Microsoft partners for a multitude of reasons. And today, we’re here to bust some of the most common misconceptions and myths about the platform.

Myth 1: Microsoft Ads isn’t as effective as Google Ads

We’re starting strong with myth number 1. But, in fact, the opposite is true. The lower volumes of competition on Microsoft Ads - when compared to Google Ads - actually means that CPCs (costs-per-click) and CPAs (cost per acquisition) are often far cheaper via Microsoft. Lower CPCs, less competition for conversion, and less aggressive auction processes make advertising on Microsoft Ads just as, if not more, efficient than Google Ads. 

Microsoft’s data now shows that of the billion people reached by the search engine, users have “greater purchasing power”, are “more likely to make a purchase online” and are “more likely to engage with ads to try new offers” than on competitor search engines.

Myth 2: Microsoft Ads is exactly the same as Google Ads

We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve been guilty of assuming this one. And, let’s face it, there are some extremely strong similarities between the two search engine marketing platforms, with plenty of crossover in key terms, functionality, and structures. In fact, you can import your entire campaigns and shopping feeds from Google into Microsoft Ads to make life easier!

However, Microsoft does have the upper hand on Google in plenty of ways, the main one being the scale of the network.

The Microsoft Network

When compared to the scale of the Google network, the Microsoft network is impressive. Under one umbrella, the Microsoft Network has:

  • An operating system
  • Search engine
  • Business social platform (LinkedIn)
  • Gaming (XBOX and Activision acquisitions)
  • A news publisher
  • A browser
  • A retail media platform
  • A DSP and an SSP
  • Cloud surfaces
  • Hardware
  • A wide-ranging productivity suite that is widely adopted globally.

Until May 2024, streaming service Netflix had an exclusive deal with Microsoft Ads to power their ad-supported tier with targeted ads. This is one key indicator of how seriously the Microsoft team is taking their partnerships and ambitions, despite not currently being the #1 leader in demand-side advertising. 

As well as this, Microsoft’s integrations into other advertising platforms such as LinkedIn and search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Yahoo make the Microsoft ecosystem even more far-reaching.

Finally, Microsoft Ads has far greater transparency for advertisers and brands than Google does (at the time of writing). Unfortunately, within Google, much of the non-Google-owned and operated placement data is hidden. So on far-reaching campaign types such as Performance Max, Display, Demand Gen, or Video, you’ll often find reports very vague for a large majority of the placements. This causes issues for advertisers as it’s tricky to then negate certain placements, control placements and to optimize towards high-converting ad placements. On the other hand, Microsoft Ads gives full transparency into all ad placements, whether owned and operated by Microsoft or not. 

Myth 3: Only old(er) people use Microsoft search engines

Myth number 3 is one that we’ve heard and that Microsoft has been hearing for years too! The assumption is that only older and less technologically savvy people will use their laptop or desktop’s default browser, and are therefore less likely to research products or buy online.

However, we can happily bust this myth! Demographic data from Microsoft shows that their search engine users are 56% male and 44% female and that  73% of users are under 45 years old. The demographics don’t stop there: Microsoft Ads users are highly educated with 34% of them having graduated from college and 36% of Microsoft users have a household income in the top 25% nationally.

Myth 4: There’s no real audience for Microsoft Ads

Myth 4 for us to happily bust is that there’s no ‘real’ audience available via Microsoft Ads. At the risk of seeming too stat-happy, here are some more myth-busting statistics!

*The latest data says 35 languages, however, the figure is now closer to 45 languages.

So, with such significant volumes of searchers annually, refusing to advertise on Microsoft Ads and only using Google Ads could be equivalent to ‘shutting your store one day a week every week’ due to the scale of audience you won’t be able to reach.

Myth 5: Microsoft Ads don’t convert users

Along with all the other myths about poor performance and weak audiences, the ultimate myth about Microsoft Ads is that they don’t convert users. Microsoft has taken this myth onboard and has worked hard over the last few years to create opportunities for full-funnel marketing for advertisers and brands. Today, Microsoft boasts a full suite of tools, targeting options, ad formats, and bidding strategies to meet your goals across the funnel.

Data from November 2023 has shown that Microsoft Ads overall outperformed Google Ads when it came to CVR (conversion rates) at 2.94% which is around 19% higher than Google CVRs overall. Because the scale of comparison is so vast, this is no mean feat for Microsoft to achieve. 

Microsoft Ads for Awareness

For upper-funnel activity, Microsoft suggests using the following ad formats across their network:

  • Multimedia ads
  • Multiple image extensions
  • Video extensions
  • Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) 
  • CTV with broad targeting

As well as audience-targeting solutions such as:

  • Similar audiences
  • In-market audiences

Microsoft Ads for Consideration

For mid-funnel and nurturing activity, Microsoft suggests leveraging these ad formats:

  • Product and multimedia ads
  • Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)
  • Dynamic data extensions

Combined with the following audiences:

  • Similar audiences
  • In-market audiences
  • Remarketing
  • Microsoft predictive targeting solutions

Microsoft Ads for Conversion

For performance-focused advertising, Microsoft Ads suggests the use of:

  • Product and multimedia ads
  • Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)
  • Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) 

As well as:

  • Remarketing for conversion (such as dynamic remarketing)
  • Customer match audiences
  • Feed-based audiences

Beyond this, Microsoft Ads also globally launched Performance Max in March this year, to rival Google’s Performance Max campaign type. This campaign type is goal-based and creates a full-funnel strategy for you using a combination of images, videos (available soon), and text assets to show each prospective customer the right message at the right time in their purchasing journey. 

Final Thoughts

Microsoft has frequently said themselves that they’re playing catch-up to other search engines. However, as the second-largest search engine globally combined with substantial investments in technology, AI, and partnerships, Microsoft Ads is a heavy hitter to consider in your search strategy in 2024 and beyond.

As certified Microsoft Partners, we have access to specialized training and support that empowers us to deliver exceptional results for your campaigns. Contact us today to learn more and unlock the full potential of your advertising efforts.


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