An interesting story out of the Google I/O conference last week actually took place just across the street from the conference center. As Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) continues to attempt to gain relevance in the search engine wars they have been pushing a marketing campaign called “Bing it On”. This push has been going on for some months now, but they are really taking it right to Google with the installation of a kiosk set up directly across the street from Google’s big conference encouraging people to take the challenge.
A sign telling readers to “Put the science back into computer science: Test your Google bias inside” attempted to goad those from the Google I/O conference to come over and see which results they truly liked better. While no statistics or other information were released about this tactic yet, it is at least an entertaining idea and it undoubtedly got the attention of many people attending the conference.
What is the Challenge?
If you haven’t seen the commercials already, the Bing it on challenge lets you type in five searches into a search engine. The results from both Google and Bing will show up, but with all branding removed so you can’t tell which side of the screen contains the results from Google and which side has Bing’s results. You then choose which results are more in line with what you are looking for. After five searches you’ll see which search engine you choose for which searches. Microsoft claims that people are choosing Bing nearly 2 to 1 when using this challenge.
Is the Challenge Effective?
The big question is whether people will be willing to move from Google to Bing for their everyday searching. Bing has been slowly but surely climbing in the rankings, but they are still far behind Google. Of course, when you include Yahoo search results, which are powered by Bing, it gets a little bit closer. As of February 2013 Google still controlled 67.5% of all searches in the United States. Bing was up to 16.7% and Yahoo! Contributed 11.6% with the other 5% being spread around over several minor engines.
Microsoft seems committed to the long term success of Bing so while they are still quite the minority in the search engine world, they are not to be ignored. With how many billions of searches are done each year it will be possible for Microsoft to justify the time and money put into their search engine. They are clearly seeing a slow growth, and with every percentage point they move up it is millions of searches which can be turned into more profit for the software giant.
I don’t think Microsoft will overtake Google anytime soon, but if they can break into the 20%+ range for searches, or 40%+ when combined with Yahoo I think it will be a game changer for the world of SEO and Internet Marketing. People will begin to take Bing more seriously when it comes to ranking their sites which can only help the long term viability of the Bing search engine. Personally I’m always happy with there is competition in any market so I’m rooting for Bing to keep moving up in the search world.