Bing Focusing on Search Apps To Compete With Google
The latest comScore numbers indicate that Google still has over two-thirds of the search market share, and some people believe that number is actually quite a bit higher. There's no question that search marketers will need to focus mainly on Google in the near future.
However, between the Bing it On Challenge and the claims that their image search is superior to Google's, Bing hasn't been afraid to try grabbing some of that share. Now, however, it seems that Bing will be moving away from pure search and focusing more on search apps in order to compete.
Stefan Weitz Admits Defeat?
Stefan Weitz, the director of search for Microsoft, stated that Bing is "unlikely" to truly compete with Google as far as pure search is concerned. According to The Register, the search guru spoke at a Dublin conference this week and revealed that Microsoft's efforts will not necessarily be focused primarily on Bing.com. While that will still be a very important part of their search market strategy, the company is supposedly going to focus on machine learning, natural language search and "weav[ing] the tech into things you're already doing." For example, Bing was the first search engine to add a Bitcoin currency conversion feature.
Weitz also claimed that Bing still offers a better image search than Google and that Bing is superior for grabbing social results from Twitter and Facebook.
Bing Already Beat Google to Emoji Search
One clear way that Bing is using search apps to get around Google's pure search domination involves the recent addition of emoji search. Emojis, the tiny pictures often used in texting, are incredibly popular in mobile communication. But what if you get an emoji in a text and you don't know what it means? Now you can enter it into Bing and get pages of results explaining the emoji's meaning. You can also use emojis as part of your search query, like in this picture courtesy of the Bing Blog:
Yahoo and DuckDuckGo also offer this service. However, it remains to be seen whether or not people actually want or need emoji search. While interesting and fun, it seems unlikely that search apps such as this could actually make much of a difference in market share.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
It goes without saying that search marketers should concentrate most of their efforts in ranking well on Google. However, Bing cannot be ruled out. What's most important is to take account of your target market and potential buyers. For example, the comScore data suggests that Bing users are typically older. They also usually have an household income of over $75,000. If this sounds like your main customer or reader base, you may want to spend a bit more time assessing and improving your Bing rankings, or possibly ponying up for some Bing ads.
Also, the direction that Weitz claims Bing is moving in should be exciting for marketers. The search apps and new technologies Microsoft comes up with could end up being excellent tools for specific websites and services that a marketer may be in charge of. Trying to rank within a relevant search app might prove very beneficial as time goes on. Marketers should definitely be on the lookout for any new, unique Bing technologies that can be leveraged for search visibility.