If you’re in the Kansas City area this week and care about online marketing and entrepreneurship, you must show up at the November KCSEM event on Tuesday, 11/27 to hear Michelle Zung, Bing Evangelist. This will be a great event at a great venue; you can RSVP here.
In the search marketing world, Bing is often overlooked, an “also ran” in a race currently dominated by Google. But for most sites on the web, Bing is their second-highest referral source. And, they’re picking up speed.
Here’s three reasons why Bing is important for the present and future of online marketing.
Growing Search Share
Bing has continued to pick up users, reaching 16% search share in the latest comScore report. Paired with Yahoo! searches (which are powered by Bing), Bing has earned a 28.2 share of U.S. searches. This growth is mirrored in the U.K., however Bing has much more ground to make up across the pond, where their ongoing growth will depend on cutting into Google’s 90% share instead of just beating up the 3rd-tier search engines.
While some of this growth probably came from recent Bing-as-default software launches (more on that later), some has to be attributed to an…
As Bing’s recent BingItOn promotion has shown, for most searchers, the search experience on the two top engines is similar, or slightly better on Bing. But for Bing to turn that realization into continued growth, they have to show consumers there’s a dramatic enough difference to make it worth adjusting our ingrained “Google it” behavior. That is a much bigger challenge.
But, it’s a challenge that Bing addressed in a smart way. At launch, and since, Bing has focused on providing some dramatically different search results pages for several search verticals, such as travel, entertainment, and image searches. While I personally prefer Google for the bulk of my searches, I often use Bing for the niche searches that I know it handles better. For example, Bing’s flight search with the price predictor is brilliant; I’ve personally been burned by not following it’s advice in the past.
If Bing can continue to create standout features like this, while continuing to improve their general results, they’ll have a product worth switching to.
One reason that Bing is an important part of the tech sphere is that it’s not Google. This has led to some great partnerships for Bing with other entities that now see Google as competition.
The most important of these is Facebook. Facebook, in addition to snubbing Google, has formed a tight connection with Bing. Part of this is obviously due to Microsoft’s 1.6% stake in Facebook. The other part of is their desperate need for eachothers’ data and technology. Bing needs Facebook’s social graph to continue evolving their social search component, and Facebook needs Bing to supplement their horrific in-Facebook search experience (and possibly power a future version). The symbiotic nature of their relationship has led to many speculations of an eventual purchase (or share trade) of Bing by Facebook.
If you need a frame of reference for the value of the Facebook/Bing relationship, consider how much Google has invested in Google+ to try and replicate it.
Bing’s second most important partner is its parent, due to it being the out-of-the-box search engine for any Microsoft software (Windows Phone, Microsoft 8, IE 9, etc.) and hardware (Surface). In a world where half of the population doesn’t know how to change their default browser, even fewer know how to change their default search engine. If Windows 8 is a success on desktop, mobile and tablet devices, if the Surface tablet gains any mass usage, they should push higher search shares, ad revenues and long-term relevance for Bing.
I look forward to seeing you Tuesday night!