By Cedric Chambaz, Marketing Manager of Search and SMB at Microsoft Advertising.
In June 2009, Microsoft launched Bing, a new search engine which sought to offer both advertisers and consumers alike a viable and user-friendly alternative to the market leader. Its launch was welcomed by the industry as a much-needed injection of innovation and competition.
Since then, Bing has delivered on its promise, making good progress and steadily building both its user base and market share. But how exactly has Bing differentiated itself from the competition? And what unique opportunities does it offer marketers who are investing in search marketing?
Bing is a decision engine. Rather than generate a long list of search results which the consumer then has to painstakingly sift through, Bing delivers answers. The vision is to create a search experience that helps people make faster, more-informed decisions in their daily lives.
Bing is in particular tailored to Britain – we’ve invested in a UK-based Search Technology Centre which evolves the global Bing experience to meet the local consumer needs through greater relevancy, unique features, local content partnerships, etc. which reflect how UK consumers search online.
This is great news for British advertisers too as Bing gave them access to an audience who is more engaged and satisfied with the search results, and consequently more qualified.
In addition to this better quality audience, Bing’s search marketing platform, Microsoft adCenter, enables marketers to capture consumers at their point of research into a product, something which also benefits the consumer by serving them more relevant and timely advertising.
Whereas traditional marketers had to make assumptions on a consumer’s choices and habits based on broad-brush market research, search advertising allows them to gather information and deliver advertising to the consumer in an increasingly targeted and immediate fashion.
Microsoft Advertising’s Intelligence Tool, a free add-in to Excel which gives advertisers access to the Bing history, can allow a marketer through a single click, to see how many people are searching for their product, their demographic profile (age, gender) and even their geographic location.
This is extremely valuable intelligence for a marketer to have about a business, an industry or a market, which is available for free to enrich campaign planning and targeting.
In a previous article on UTalkMarketing , I alluded to how a stringent, streamlined and efficient search marketing strategy can provide a marketer with the intelligence to ensure that they are optimising their entire marketing campaign.
Search is unique in that it gives the marketer instant and evolving consumer intelligence, which they can use to adapt and refine not only their pay-per-click advertising but also other activities. For example, a drinks brand could review the relative performance of different keywords and realise that one word resonates with the target audience more than another similar term (say ‘beer’ over ‘lager’).
This intelligence could then be utilised to minimise wastage in other areas of the campaign, such as banner advertising, print, websites or even in their call centre scripts.
Microsoft is committed to online search and offering the industry an improved, competitive choice. For search marketers, Bing is already a real alternative to the market leader, delivering improved relevancy, giving advertisers more qualified clicks and higher conversion rates overall.
Research from Nielsen NetRatings demonstrated that a Bing user is 49% more likely to convert than the average UK searcher. In the current economic climate, each click and every penny spent is even more important than before. If we can reduce the number of unwanted clicks then this surely ensures the right users get to those sites.
The combination of Bing’s more qualified audience and Microsoft adCenter’s unique targeting capabilities offer advertisers the opportunity to serve relevant ads to a high quality target audience, while they are in decision mode.
Digital guru John Batelle once described search engines as the “databases of intentions”. If this is the case, Bing allows the marketer to assess their consumers’ intentions quickly and economically to deliver the highest return on investment.
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