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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