Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, is taking bold steps to lose its status as Google’s less sophisticated little brother with a new campaign called “Bing it On.”
If successful, online advertising sales could benefit from a search engine to rival Google for accuracy and relevance.
A mountain to climb?
So, what can the forward-looking search engine marketing specialist, business development manager and adverting sales manager glean from the new campaign? “Bing it On” borrows from Pepsi’s famous blind taste challenges during the ‘70s and ’80s and presents side-by-side search results for five search queries, pitting Bing against Google. Searchers then choose which results are best and which are a draw. So far, Microsoft claims, the results of its own blind trials are in its favor by
2 to 1.
Breaking the “Google habit” is going to involve a formidable struggle. Google commands a thundering 66.8 percent of the search market, with growth of 1.8 per cent since Bing made its first appearance in June 2010. This compares to Bing’s still feeble 15.8 percent, virtually all of which has been gained from Microsoft partner Yahoo.
Playing the long game
Despite the relatively small gains, some industry insiders believe Bing it On is a brilliant first step in a longer-term push to break Google’s position as the “go to” search engine. As Bing R&D Vice President Harold Shum notes in a recent blog, it has involved almost fever pitch innovation by Microsoft engineers in developing “FastRank” technology and sophisticated new algorithms to massively increase the relevancy of Bing’s search results.
He writes, “[W]e feel confident that it’s time for customers to come give us a look, and for a conversation on searching quality to occur in our industry.”
Not everyone is enthusing about the Bing it On campaign, however. Tech journalist Joe Wilcox of betanews.com describes it as a “real turn off”: in the blind challenges, important details such as location are stripped out of the search results, making it impossible to make an informed decision over which “side” is best.
For Microsoft, though, this is but the first step on a long journey it fully intends to be a “catch-up and overtake” mission.