One of the things we do at T324 is follow industry news, like developments in search engine market share. The SEO trend website searchenginewatch.com recently reported that Bing powered 25.3 percent of organic searches in August; Bing’s market share is now considered to be 15.9 percent. 68.8 percent of organic searches were performed through Google. (Although this data doesn’t figure in mobile searches, and most mobile search is performed on Google.) If you’re like me and tend to think of the war for search engine dominance as long since won by Google, these figures are surprising.
Bing started out looking like the longest of long shots, an attempt by Microsoft to rebrand its search as a meaningful competitor to Google. But what could the value proposition be? Unsurprisingly, Microsoft added social. Since May 2012, Bing has contained a “Sidebar” that allows social sharing of your search results. Plus, there’s bigger pictures, higher up. Image search, fueled by Microsoft’s internal image search algorithms, brings up big bright pictures near the top of your search. But what else differentiates Bing from Google, and why would users choose it?
For almost a month, Microsoft has been running a marketing campaign called “Bing It On“, which performs side-by-side Google and Bing searches. I tried it and I picked Bing results four out of five times; I suspect it’s because I liked the pretty pictures. Since the blind-test format means your location isn’t available to either search engine, the local-flavored filter bubble most of us have become used to is missing. You really need to open a browser window with each to get a sense of what the differences are, and to see which serves your needs better. A lot may depend on how much social-sharing behavior fuels your daily activities, whether you use the web primarily to consume content or access products and services, and how much you like pictures. Nonetheless, the campaign and the growth of Bing’s market share indicate that no-one can afford to ignore Bing anymore.
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