Even though Microsoft has spent hundreds of millions of dollars reinventing and marketing their search product, I still never know whether to put their new search engine in lower case, all caps or add an exclamation mark at the end. I don’t use “Bing”, and I’m assuming you don’t either. And although there are hundreds of search engines out there, the word “Google” has become synonymous with all of them. With 63% of the search engine market share, why would anyone care about anything else but Google…right?!? Right?? Bing bing BING!….wrong.
In case you forgot (or remembered to care) Microsoft and Yahoo! forged a partnership in July of 2009. Combined they make up approximately 30% of the market. The details of the partnership include Yahoo! incorporating Bing’s results on their pages, and Yahoo! using its sales force to drive advertisers. All in efforts to mop up more of that coveted, Google-dominated, search engine market share. Well, as of last month the fruits of this partnership started to ripen. Although minimally, Yahoo! has begun incorporating Bing’s Organic and Paid results.
How does this affect you? In the immediate it really doesn’t. But here are some numbers which should cause you to think more about Bing than ever before.
Today, our friend and client, Marc McGurren from Jerry Durant Auto Group, brought an interesting statistic to us today from his Google Analytics account. His overall average bounce rate was incredibly low at 18%, but astoundingly low on traffic from Bing at 11%. This led us to do some research on our clients’ website traffic and concluded the same. We pulled numbers from 10 franchise website clients with similar levels in non-paid traffic for the month of July. Bing proved to be the leader in all baseline performance data including Time on Site, Pages per Visit and Bounce Rate.
But Bing didn’t just win, it blew Google’s numbers away with 1:27 LONGER Time on Site, 1.32 MORE Pages Viewed, and 11% LOWER Bounce Rate. But WHY??
Here are some theories:
1) Bing users are Internet-savvy early-adopters of a new product (this theory brought to us by our CEO).
2) Bing results are more relevant to the search query
3) Bing’s layout and dynamic listings pre-qualify the website traffic before it gets there.
Although there is no clear-cut answer, I believe it’s a combination of all three. If you haven’t used Bing before, you might want to give it a shot. Google nor Bing fetch perfectly relevant results, but Bing has an intuitive “preview” tool which provides a summary of the site by mousing over the listing including address and phone number – essentially pre-qualifying the website visitor or even giving them the information they need before they even make it to the website. When Bing first launched, Google made quick work of adding “bing-like” elements to their results too.
If Bing can perpetuate the perfect storm, it will bring itself closer to Google as the SINGLE alternative for Search. By inheriting Yahoo!’s market share, providing a better search experience, and offering websites a more qualified visitor, Bing could be a close second-best.