David Pann, general search manager of Microsoft Advertising told Marketing Week it would boost the number of Bing queries by placing the search engine at the heart of its multiple brands, including Windows Phone, Xbox and other applications.
Pann is visiting London from the US today (14 May) meeting advertisers to provide updates on the Yahoo Bing Network to convince them of its progress in rivalling Google’s market dominance of the UK search market – which was at almost 90 per cent in late 2012, according to Experian figures.
Instead, Pann says that the main interface with Bing will be through Microsoft’s suite of applications.
“There’s two parts to the strategy [to increase Bing queries] and what you’ll start to see is Microsoft with its devices and services strategy… Bing is going to be powering a lot of these new experiences and services where the consumer entry point is across all of Microsoft,” he says.
“It’s not about how you come to Bing.com now, it’s about how you integrate Bing with Xbox, and how you experience Bing through Windows and other kinds of consumer-related products by Microsoft.”
He further adds: “The other one is what you see with Yahoo looking to drive mobile with Yahoo apps on mobile devices – which is powered by Bing – and that is great.”
Pann is also keen to highlight some of the significant strides the Yahoo Bing Network has made since launching in the UK a year ago plus and how it can differentiate itself from Google in the market.
Yahoo Bing Network
These updates include improving Bing’s campaign management tools, rebranding its ads platform to Bing Ads and ultimately increasing the number of clicks on the Yahoo Bing Ad Network by 20 per cent in 12 months.
However, the last 12 months have also seen Bing’s CPC rate dip by 8 per cent year on year, but this is a common phenomenon across the industry according to Pann – Google’s CPC rates also dipped in the last 12 months.
This has nominally been spurred by the consumers searching for goods and serves on their mobiles – which typically commands lower prices than those on desktop.
Google adjusted to reflect this increasingly complex consumer search habits earlier in the year by rolling out its AdWords Enhanced Campaigns. This change simplified the process of creating AdWords campaigns to target users across device types, meaning they didn’t have to create one for desktop and then another for different device types.
But the Enhanced Campaign changes also involved decreasing brands’ ability to target users by mobile OS – a popular way for brands to target mobile users. Pann says Microsoft’s contrasting approach means advertisers will hand advertisers more control over where their ads appear.
“We believe that marketers need control and transparency to put the right message on the right device and Microsoft wants to continue to offer marketers the choice to run separate desktop, tablet and mobile campaigns.
“Plus we also want to offer markers that run Enhanced Campaigns the ability to import those campaigns into the Bing platform,” he adds.
Such an approach contrasts with Google’s strategy of upping its profile in recent years among consumers by taking out TV slots – currently the bulk of Microsoft’s ad spend is geared towards pushing its Windows 8 and devices running on its Windows 8 platform.
This could partly be accredited to explaining to consumers just how rapid their respective advances have been in terms of capability over the last couple of years but I cannot help but think that it must also have some kind of sway over advertisers’ willingness to invest in a certain channel.
Therefore it would be interesting to see how eschewing a more consumer-facing push of the Bing brand will affect its ongoing encroachment into Google’s search market share. For although the arrows may apppear to be pointing in the right direction (as evidenced by the chart at top of the page). I cannot help but think these incremental gains will do little to assuage the concerns of investors.