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Microsoft Ads: The unsung hero of paid search

ChinLin Pan contributed to this report.

Digital advertising is a versatile, cost-effective piece of the digital acquisition puzzle.

As budgets begin to tighten due to an upcoming recession, optimizing your digital marketing can help your nonprofit organization with both brand awareness and acquisition.

Google Ads and Google Grants are probably where your mind goes first when thinking about digital advertising, and rightfully so.

But what about Microsoft Ads?

We’re here to tell you that Microsoft should not be overlooked. And when you pair these two advertising options together, you can reach a much larger audience.

Let’s look at how the two compare, as well as the offerings Microsoft has available for nonprofit organizations that Google doesn’t.


With the Microsoft family, you gain access to advertising on three different search engines: Bing, Yahoo and AOL. With Google, you just get one.

And while these three search engines may be less common than Google, which holds about 74% of the search market, together they reach 63 million people who aren’t being reached on Google.


During these challenging times, that’s a huge group of potential donors that could be one targeted campaign away from becoming loyal to your cause.

Another surprising fact is that Bing Ads tend to have a higher click-through-rate, lower bounce rates and longer average sessions than Google Ads, giving them a more engaged audience.

This alone may be compelling enough to get you thinking – but here are a few more critical offerings available with Microsoft that can have a huge impact on your digital advertising program:


As we move into a recession, it’s even more important to focus on targeting and acquiring donors who have a higher capacity to give.

We know that age and income play a huge role in this.

When you break down the demographics, the Bing ad network has an older average user age, at 35-54 years old.

Additionally, one-third of the Bing Network audience has a household income of $100,000 or more.


A little competition never hurt anyone, but when it comes to tight budgets it’s always better to go where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

The competition in Google can be fierce, therefore increasing the cost-per-click (CPC) rate. But with Microsoft there’s less competition, which means a lower average cost-per-click.

In fact, depending on the market, average cost-per-click can be up to 70% lower with Microsoft than with Google.

This is proven by looking at the data for two of our clients in the healthcare sector.

While both saw success in each channel, the average CPC and cost-per-acquisition were lower in Microsoft than Google.




Thanks to a couple of unique features, Microsoft Ads give your organization the opportunity for more granular, specific targeting.

This is especially important for religious-based organizations. Google Ads does not allow religious-based advertisers to use the remarketing feature, which allows you to engage with users you’ve come in contact with before, while Microsoft Ads does.

This feature is beneficial because it allows religious organizations the chance to observe remarketing data at both the campaign and ad group level. This gives you data to better tailor your targeting efforts on audiences more likely to give.

Microsoft Ads also recently added LinkedIn Profile Targeting. This feature allows nonprofits to target a specific company or industry.


Microsoft Ads has 34% of the desktop search engine market share worldwide.

Since the world is increasingly mobile friendly, this may not seem like a huge deal, but the average person who visits Bing spends 35% more online when shopping from their desktops than the average user on other search engines.

Nonprofits with online stores or gift catalogs can get more traffic from shoppers on desktop than on mobile, making this a great fit.

We know the road ahead will be tough, but digital media can play a huge part in your organization’s long-term success. With the right mix between Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, you can optimize your digital program to target high-value donors with the potential for long-term giving.

Ashley Walker

Ashley oversees PPC and Google Ad Grant efforts at RKD Group, helping manage how we optimize conversions across our client's marketing platforms. Ashley is actively involved as an ambassador for the Ad Grant Certified Professionals, a cohort designed to develop and share best practices across the Google for Nonprofit member community.

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