Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Posted by Aaron Goldman
I'm quoted in today's MediaPost Online Media Daily commenting on the implications of recent data showing gains in search market share for Bing. I'd like to give some additional context for my POV and expand on it a bit.
The article starts off with, "Microsoft's new search engine Bing continues to take share from Google, Yahoo and Ask, albeit small. In June, Google shows a .3% drop, Yahoo a .17% drop, and Ask a .1% drop in usage share, according to NetApplications, a research firm."
My input comes later in the piece...
"Aaron Goldman, Connectual.com founder, says for marketers the NetApplications numbers are 'meaningless, because no one will change their SEO, PPC or display ad buys based on those search engine market share numbers.'"
To clarify, what I meant was that no one will adjust their media plans based on changes as small as mere tenths of percentage points. It will take at least an increase of a couple whole points before marketers and agencies start reallocating budget across platforms. And, even then, they'll only shift budget if the performance of the campaigns are commensurate with the growth. In other words, even if Bing gains 3% in share, it won't see an extra dime unless the traffic represented by that 3% converts well. Fortunately for Bing, Microsoft search traffic has generally carried above-average conversion rates.
As I pointed out on my digital marketing blog, comScore (a much more widely accepted data source than NetApplications) has shown signficant lifts in share for Bing. We're all still eagerly awaiting the final tally for the month of June to see the best apples-to-apples numbers but, in the weeks following Bing's launch, comScore reported double digit growth in share of searchers and search results pages.
So what does the Bing launch mean for marketers? Bottom line, it's too early to tell. Marketers should continue to closely monitor their programs and adjust budgets and tactics based on performance, not market share. And, if your company is not current advertising with Bing, now is as good a time as any to test it out.
Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from the Bing launch at this point is that Microsoft is very serious about search as evidenced by the millions they've pumped into improving their search engine, the $100 million they've devoted to advertising for Bing, and Steve Ballmer's recent proclamation that Microsoft is willing to spend as much as 10% of its operating income on search for up to five years. What does all this add up to? Very healthy competition in the search space. And competition has always been good for marketers.
For more of my thoughts on Bing, check out my recent posts labeled Microsoft on Digital Sea Change.