I decided to give Bing 100% of my searches for one week to see if they’d convert me, and I’m happy to say that three days in I’m very impressed. Much has been written about the specific features but I’m not only impressed with those (more on that below), I’m impressed with their entire approach.
I like the catchy name, I like that they’re calling themselves a “decision engine” and I like the way the ad campaign tied in the recent financial meltdown, but most importantly I like the way they’ve targeted “head” queries. It’s true they do not do as well on “tail” terms if you’re looking for a very specific response (their database is clearly not as large as Google’s), but I like how they categorize results for queries like “San Francisco” by showing top results then Weather-related results…
…then Hotels, Restaurants and Maps below that.
To truly compete with Google and gain 30–50% market share, they’re going to have do a lot more. I’d like to see them do the following and really change the Search game:
- Buy Twitter: real-time search is here to stay and would be a welcome addition to Bing’s search results
- Integrate Display ads into their search results
- Introduce CPM pricing to the Search world for brand campaigns: many search marketers simply want impressions on high volume queries or to support large brand campaigns, why not give them what they want?
- Maintain their high quality content network but get into the long-tail content network Google is currently dominating
- Fight more aggressively on distribution relationships — they may never wrest AOL from Google given the Tim Armstrong relationship, but if they’re willing to spend $100MM on an ad campaign they should be willing to pay publishers higher rates than Google
- Compete more aggressively for mobile search volume
- Integrate Bing all throughout the Microsoft product suite: I’d like to see a search box on every Windows desktop, a search box in the top right corner of Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook and so on, a search box in the Windows Media Player and on and on. People want to search the Web from whatever application they’re in so let’s get the Bing people to walk across the Microsoft campus to the Windows building and integrate Search into everything Microsoft does
- And finally, they should buy Yahoo! Search: this last move would certainly make the game more interesting and provide a viable threat to Google
Let’s hope Bing is more than just a flash in the pan and continues to make interesting, aggressive moves in the next year. The Search market needs diversity and so far Bing is showing they came to play.
For more on how Omniture has quickly responded to the Bing launch, see this great post from Ben Gaines.