Microsoft and Yahoo have announced Yahoo Bing Network as the official name for Microsoft and Yahoo’s Search Alliance partnership, with the related move that Microsoft adCenter is being renamed Bing Ads.
“Bing Ads is not only a new name, but an improved experience with new features to help you better manage your campaigns and complete tasks faster,” says Microsoft’s Tina Kelleher in a blog post. “Recent improvements include: a new web interface, improved ad rotation controls, and agency enablement tools that make it easier for agencies to manage multiple accounts.”
Microsoft and Yahoo claim a 30% share of the U.S. search market with a reach of 151 million users likely to spend 124% more than the average searcher and 5% more than Google searchers, thereby offering advertisers 46 million unique searchers in the U.S. who aren’t using Google, according to comScore June stats cited by WebProNews.com.
Still, it's hard taking down Google.
“Despite making significant headway in the search market since its June 2010 launch, Bing has been unable to take any share away from Google,” notes CNN's David Goldman. “Google still commands 66.8% of the market — up 1.8 percentage points from the 65% it held when Bing debuted. Nearly all of the search share Microsoft has gained has come from Yahoo, a Microsoft partner whose search engine is powered by Bing.”
So it's a big deal for Microsoft to pony up to install Bing (and bump Google) as the default search in Amazon's revamped Kindle Fire and all versions of the Kindle Fire HD. The deal with Amazon, writes Digital Trends, “will cost Microsoft millions upon millions of dollars on a yearly basis. For instance, Google signed a deal with Mozilla during late December 2011 that was right around $300 million per year. Basically, Google pays Mozilla in order to be the default search engine featured within the Firefox Web browser.”
Microsoft last week launched a marketing campaign for Bing, reminiscent of a "Pepsi Challenge" and called "Bing it On," as a taste-test for users with side-by-side search results stripped of all formatting, and participants asked to choose the most helpful. After ranking results five times, users will be told which site they preferred.
Man-on-the-street tests conducted in San Francisco in June challenged people in a similar fashion and were filmed for upcoming commercials including the first that aired during last week’s music/youth-centric Video Music Awards telecast on MTV. Those who chose Google received a free Xbox, while those who chose Bing had to fork over a personal item (results included shoes, cameras, a yoga mat and a hooded sweatshirt) and declare their love for Bing to camera.
Microsoft hopes the Bing it On campaign will get people thinking of Bing as a search option. "Success for us is getting people to realize Bing is just as good or better," said Adam Sohn, Microsoft's general manager of Bing in Money. "[We want to] get them to consider an alternative and break a habit. But we know basic results won't be enough to replace Google."
Money is obviously a key factor as proven by Google’s success in the mobile space “paying Apple upwards of $1 billion a year in revenue sharing to trade for the default search engine spot on all iPhones and iPads,” writes DT.
But equally daunting in this two-horse search race is if Bing can parlay its brand into a verb, so that "Binging" gives "Googling" a run for its money.