Last year, Oliver Nelson warned us against ignoring Bing when running paid search, a move which had become popular with agencies as Google continued to dominate the market.
His advice has become even more important as Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10. Bing Ads anticipates 10% – 15% more search volume by September after the launch of Windows 10, an aggressive lift given their historical growth rate outside of acquisitions and partnerships. The primary reason for this lift, especially after the separation from Yahoo!, is that Microsoft has built search directly into the new operating system and performing searches will feel even more intuitive to the user.
Searching has become second nature to consumers, and mobile search volume has reached 30% of the total searches performed, Microsoft and Bing have historically missed the boat on key trends, but all signs point towards a reversal in their fortune. Bing Ads General Manager David Pann outlines three reasons why advertisers should be excited:
- Full integration of search into all aspects of the platform will drive more volume from new and current users. By making searching even easier, he expects the use of Bing to increase with the addition of Cortana (Microsoft’s Siri) and an ‘Ask me anything’ box that is accessible to the user at all times.
- As Internet Explorer gets put out to pasture, it will be replaced with the Edge browser. Edge will allow for users to highlight terms/content and right-click to bring up Bing results in a sidebar. These results will integrate business listings when they’re relevant, so users can read reviews and look at map locations without leaving the page they are on.
- Cortana is coming to iOS and Android too. This a big move as it extends the reach of Bing beyond Windows-powered mobile devices. As this market continues to grow it will be important that Bing regain some of the share it lost when Yahoo! launched Gemini, essentially taking all of its mobile traffic and revenue with it.
As mobile search continues to grow and eventually overtake desktop search volume, deep search integration will become even more important to both Google and Microsoft. Consumers will gravitate toward seamless experiences that make things easier when they’re on the go. Microsoft’s history with such things, though, is marked by wide-ranging legal troubles. Remember what happened when they tried to argue that Internet Explorer was a fundamental part of its operating system? That’s how they lost the browser wars. Could they experience similar legal hurdles as they integrate search? Certainly more revenue is at stake.
Just when we thought the search landscape was stagnant and Google was running away with the category, we have seen two big changes shake up the marketplace in the past few months. While these new Bing features do make searching for information even easier, it will be interesting to see how many users continue to use Bing as their default engine vs switching to Google.. Only time will tell.
Chris Tuleya is Executive Vice President, Media, at Underscore Marketing, a firm that creates and manages integrated marketing programs for health and wellness brands.