When it comes to search engine advertising, it can be hard to see past Google, which has become synonymous with search. Many, if not most businesses don’t even factor in other search engines into their inbound marketing campaigns and instead choose to put their time and money promoting themselves through Google (both organically and with paid search). This usually ends up being a solid strategy so there has been no reason for brands to try anything else. Microsoft, however, has been putting a lot effort into developing its search engine with the hopes of making it competitive with Google, and a number of recent developments have made Bing look a lot more appealing. This brings up the question: is it time to start paying attention to Bing?
Bing – Here to Stay
For some time, it didn’t look like Bing was going to make it. Low participation and a lack of features gave marketers little reason to embrace Bing, and without significant ad revenue it was hard for Microsoft to justify maintaining the search engine. This led many to speculate that the software giant was going to wash its hands of Bing and sell it to whoever was interested.
While some of these rumors still exist, it’s hard to pay attention to them now when you consider just how much Microsoft has integrated Bing into its overall platform. For example, Bing was deeply imbedded into Windows 8, and was in fact one of the main selling points when the operating system when it was released. Bing is here to stay, but again the question is whether or not marketers should be embracing it.
Is the Time Right?
Bing is definitely a lot more attractive now than it used to be. It’s much more robust and it is slowly but surely gaining market share. There is also a common belief that Google simply can’t maintain its monopoly on search forever and that Bing is the search engine most likely grow into a serious competitor (sorry Yahoo). There are a couple of recent developments which makes Bing look a lot more tempting as well, including:
Less than a month ago, Bing introduced Product Ads, allowing marketers to finally show pictures along with key product information instead of just text. This makes search on Bing a much more visual experience and opens up a lot more possibilities for brands, especially ecommerce companies. Bing is also incorporating a voice based interface similar to Apple’s Siri called Cortana as well we personalized information cards similar to those used in Google Now. None of these new features is particularly unique, but they do level the playing field a bit.
For Q1 of 2014, Bing grew twice as much over last year in terms of ad spend as Google did, according to a recent report. Of course, much more money was spent with Google overall, but it does show that advertisers are warming up to Bing.
These recent developments make it worth your while to give Bing a second look when it comes to your inbound marketing strategy. It certainly won’t bring in as much organic or paid business as Google will, but it can still be a solid way to bring in customers. Of course your budget and target personas are still going to be a factor (after all, why would you use Bing if its typical users don’t fall into your target personas?), but if those elements alight then Bing can be another solid channel for sales and lead generation.
Has your business been advertising on Bing and getting results? Please let me know in the comments section!
Image By : ivanwalsh