Ravleen Beeston

Director Search Sales
BLOG POSTS

We’re in the business of human curiosity. And it’s bigger than you think

As humans we have a lifelong interest to learn, in all manner of ways. We do so by collecting information around us. We squirrel it away and draw on it to inform future decisions, conversations and viewpoints. When we can’t answer a question ourselves, we seek out the answer. We’re curious creatures.

Searching is a natural phenomenon. How we do it and how we get our answers has just evolved thanks to the rapid evolution of technology.

Nowadays we expect to have all manner of information at our fingertips. We’re constantly looking for curiosity gratification. Search is second nature. It’s built into the fabric of our habits. It’s a bit like electricity; it's all around us, we never see it, it just lights everything up.

Ultimately, consumers’ expectations of search have grown; we want more intuitive answers that are both faster and more accurate, therefore how we search for answers is changing. Rapidly. Nowadays more often we talk instead of type, as it’s a more natural way for us to interact. Voice search, for example digital personal assistants such as Cortana, is evolving to understand user intent and context based on previous search queries to anticipate a person’s needs.

As an industry, we’re in the business of human curiosity and brands are competing to best answer a consumer need. For that, you need to understand who it is that you should be engaging. Search unlocks a wealth of data to empower marketers to build a more informed picture of their audience. Its power in giving context to curiosity cannot be underestimated. As the figures from the most

recent IAB ad spend report show, paid-for search advertising now accounts for over half of total digital ad spend (51%) having risen to a record £4.35bn. Search is now intrinsic to the future of digital advertising.

Translate that to Bing and it’s a story worth searching for. As a business we’ve evolved by reacting to these tectonic shifts in how people experience the web to deeply understand billions of people, places and things. From the semantic web, through the social explosion, proliferation of devices leading to connected mobility, plus a connected Internet of Things, the rich data generated by all these interactions has led to the Bing intelligence of today. Invisible computing that delivers experiences that adapt to the individual and their context.

Today the Bing Network is present in 34 markets with 11 per cent global market share. Looking at the UK specifically, we power over 766m unique monthly searches with over 17 per cent market share. Growth in clicks year-on-year on Bing here in the UK is up 24 per cent.

Microsoft is all in on search and Bing is a vital ingredient across the devices and services we are delivering today. You just need to look at its deep integration in consumer software such as Windows 10 to know that.

Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. The transformation we are driving across our businesses, to reinvent productivity, build the intelligent cloud platform and create more personal computing, is designed to enable our customers to thrive in this world.

And they are already seeing the benefits. Here’s what Christopher Pearce, Search and Partnership Lead at Vodafone had to say about us recently:

We approached Bing with a challenge, and from that challenge created a partnership. Working closely with Bing helped us learn and successfully drive change across our account, resulting in Vodafone leading the telecoms vertical in new product adoption and delivering a 29% reduction in CPC YoY and 19% increase in traffic.

We will continue to invest in tools and experiences that bridge the gap across platforms to enable brands to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints along the consumer decision journey while providing them with the intelligent content they want, when they want it.

We are also focused on continually increasing the value of our platform to our users and our customers, such as respectfully doing more with data and looking for ways to bring searchers closer to the actions they are looking to take. Over the next year we will increasingly focus on exploring new ways to utilise the unique intelligence we can provide to help inform wider marketing strategies for our customers (e.g. Bing Predicts). We have proven that we can grow our business organically over the past five years and will continue to do so.

We are going to continue to deeply invest in Bing. These investments will translate to more unique searchers, increased ad impressions, more clicks and increased performance for advertisers. You can expect to see more of this in the future.

Search isn’t abating and curiosity is shaping search’s future in today’s connected world. What does this mean for brands? It creates a need to be relevant, with smart content that appears in the right place and at the right time. What does this mean for us? We’re bigger than you think.

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Bing Powers AOL Search

Last June, Microsoft announced a long-term search partnership with AOL. Today, we are sharing that as of Jan. 1, Bing now powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide. All major Bing Ads ad products are enabled for AOL search traffic worldwide to provide our clients with additional high-quality volume and ways to reach their desired audience.

Today’s announcement is testament to Microsoft’s ongoing focus on search and search advertising and our increasing scale that connects our clients’ media buys to new publishers and audiences to help them achieve more impact for their business. For more information, please see the full announcement.

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From Search to Searchers: Six for ‘16 predictions

This article first appeared in Campaign

New technology that blurs the line between what's real and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. Marketing performed "on-the-fly" to determine an appropriate or optimal approach to a particular customer at a particular time and place. Making a unique product offering for each customer. The creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. The development and integration of marketing concepts with other approaches to influence behaviours that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good…

In 2015 you voted with your searches on what interests you professionally which allowed us to compile the top five industry buzzwords:

 

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Based on your searches alongside insights from conversations with our customers and partners we predict the following six trends for 2016:

1. Search media spend will surpass TV in 2016.

Search accounted for the second highest digital adspend channel in 2015 – 22% of all digital media spend (IAB). As the industry sector is predicted to grow, 2016 will see search surpass TV budgets in 2016.

To stay competitive, understanding how best to utilise search within the marketing mix and leveraging insights from this channel will be vital.

2.  Search goes far beyond the box:

2016 will see marketers recognise the ubiquitous nature of search. Search will permeate more devices and services than ever before, becoming smarter and more important as a source of consumer engagement and comprehension.

3.  Mobile is not solely about mobility:

Mobile will no longer be part of the marketing strategy, it will be the marketing strategy. Consumers prefer to use their mobile device even when not on the move because their digital experience is convenient and more personalised than on the desktop. Marketers should consider how desktop supplements the mobile experience, not the other way round.

Cross device attribution is important in understanding how the two mediums work hand in hand to operate effectively.

4.  Voice search drives new behaviour and understanding for marketers:

The adoption of voice recognition and gesture control demonstrates that consumers today don’t want to rely on typing; they expect to interact with information in more natural ways. As a result, 2016 will see new search behaviours emerge, focused on the conversational nature that voice search supports. With digital personal assistants already in pockets, we’re bound to see wider audiences adapting behaviour to utilise this new technology.

 

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5.  Marketing strategies driven by search intelligence:

2016 will see search data deliver valuable business intelligence from the spectrum of online interactions to inform marketing strategies. It’s about understanding intent and being empowered to seed the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. This can be taken a step further by using this intelligence to inform wider business strategy. Unlock the potential of search data.

6.  Using data to predict outcome:

Search engines are the database of intent. And social networks are the depository of sentiments. Search engines have developed the ability to process, analyse and understand these two information sets together in order to predict intent for future events. 

2016 will see industry leading companies using data to not only understand consumer behaviour now, but intent for the future. This will enable more meaningful connections across platforms.

 

 

 

 

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