Will Bing Changes to Search Make a Difference to Online Merchants?
By Ina Steiner
Bing unveiled changes to its search engine on Tuesday designed to make the Bing experience even better, but what will it mean, if anything, for online sellers trying to attract shoppers to their listings?
The changes to the Bing search engine include an overall site design (to "better align Bing with the Microsoft suite of products") and a redesigned search experience. The new layout adapts to how people search, what they're looking for, and what device they're using - "giving people the information they need more quickly and simply."
Bing also integrated search into products such as Windows Phone, Office and Xbox.
Like Google, Microsoft looks to its search engine for revenue through advertising. Microsoft's Stephen Sirich took to the Bing Ads blog to say that the changes to Bing would engage consumers in ways that help advertisers make better connections with people looking for products and services. "We hope you agree there's no better medium for search advertising than Bing - we are committed to delivering the best in search advertising transparency and flexibility."
Online merchants were pleased when Microsoft launched its Bing search engine in June 2009. According to Internet Retailer magazine, the chance that Bing could challenge "Google's near-monopoly position in search" was potentially good news for e-tailers.
A lot has happened 4 years, including the retirement of Bing Cashback, a program extremely popular with merchants that drove shoppers to use the search engine in order to get discounted prices. While Microsoft has been able to create a strong brand in Bing, Google remains the number one search engine. In fact, Google felt so confident of its position, it was emboldened to force online retailers to begin paying for exposure in its Google Shopping search results last year.
Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in August with 66.9 percent market share, followed by Microsoft Sites with 17.9 percent and Yahoo Sites with 11.4 percent (up 0.1 percentage points), according to recent comScore data. Ask Network accounted for 2.6 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.3 percent (up 0.1 percentage points).
Scott Erickson, Senior Director of Brand and Creative, explained the vision behind the new changes, writing in a post on the Bing Search blog, "You don't live in a box so why should you search in one? What if we brought information to you as you needed it? What if we integrated into the products that you use every day and even brought you results before you even thought about searching? What if we walked away from this old view of "searching" and created the birth of "finding and doing"?"
You can learn more about the revamped Bing and how it's "stepping out of the search box" on the Bing website.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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