What is the difference between AdWords and AdCenter?

The biggest difference between the Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter programs, is perhaps the most important difference between the two search engines – User behavior. There are differences in the form and function of each program, but those differences are negligible in comparison to the overall performance metrics.

AdWords – Nobody beats Google when it comes to overall traffic. There are far more Google users worldwide than Bing users.

AdCenter – Although there are fewer Bing users, those users tend to be more engaged with the site content than Google users.

Let’s first take a look at the organic traffic data, for a three month range from Dec, 2011 – Feb, 2012.

The combined Bing/Yahoo organic traffic is not even close to the Google traffic numbers, only 17%. The initial engagement metrics are a little better for Bing/Yahoo than Google, however the goal completion numbers present are far greater contrast.

Over a 2% higher conversion rate for Yahoo traffic, and over a 4% higher conversion rate for Bing traffic, as compared to Google.

The circumstances surrounding the PPC traffic will vary based on account structure, bids, budget, etc. However, for this example, there is no more or less emphasis on SEO for Google or Bing/Yahoo traffic for the site, so the organic data is a “cleaner” apples to apples comparison of the differences in user behavior.

Obviously Google is still the higher traffic and higher overall profit generating source. But, you can’t just ignore the higher conversion rates, and overall engagement of Bing/Yahoo users. Although, sometimes I wish I could…

When it comes to using the two interfaces, AdWords is by far, a much more intuitive, and user friendly interface, with more tools and features. Especially when it comes to content advertising and display ads. Given the extreme difference in overall traffic, AdCenter just cannot yield the same benefits, for the same effort as AdWords. However, on a smaller scale, the effort you do put into AdCenter may actually return a higher ROI. It is very much a difference between profit margin, and overall profit. Ignore either program in favor of the other at your own peril! There are distinct benefits to each, and require a slightly different approach to maximize those benefits. Over time, using any and all advertising tools and programs at your disposal to craft an effective advertising strategy, is the best approach to grow your business, and protect your brand.