#BingBites at Advertising Week Europe

Insights play an integral role in understanding consumer behaviour online. They’re a crucial tool for brands to ensure they reach the right consumers, at the right time and on the right device.

Search data holds a multitude of insights that can be utilised by brands to achieve this. Here at Bing we are extremely passionate about the role of insights in informing connections to empower them to engage with consumers as effectively as possible, in the most relevant way. Uncovering these for marketers allows us to help them keep a finger on the pulse of their consumers and react directly to changing behaviour patterns or purchase decisions.

It was why, throughout Advertising Week Europe last week, we captured both our own unique insights and other leading market data, into bitesize infographics called #BingBites. Shared across our @BingAds social channels, these graphics were aligned to the key trends and themes being discuss throughout the event across the different panel sessions and presentations.

In case you missed them last week, we’ve included a couple below. Join the conversation at #BingBites and look out for more in the future.







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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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Ask and You Shall Receive: The Humanization of Search

In a world where we’re almost always connected to technology and devices, we have instant access to information wherever we are—causing a transformation to the search experience. Whether people realize it or not, search is embedded in their daily activities; it’s on their mobile devices, cloud-connected game consoles and increasingly, on smart devices throughout their homes. This transformation is changing how we interact with search as it becomes an intelligence platform powering devices and technology—making it become more human.

As search becomes more ubiquitous, people expect an experience that goes beyond search and understands them in a more personal, intimate way. And search is evolving to do just that.


Our Changing Relationship With Search

As consumers interact with technology in new, deeper ways, like through personal assistants, search is quickly adapting. Voice-powered search is a big reason why.

Unlike keyword-based searches, voice search lets us express ourselves naturally, using conversational phrasing that matches human speech patterns. Spoken language connects people to what they're searching for with an immediacy, convenience and intimacy that text-only search just can’t provide. Because of this intimacy, search can discern what information the user is seeking with far greater precision.

Search isn’t just becoming more human; it’s becoming interwoven into the fabric of our everyday lives. With a growing technology ecosystem of phones, tablets, and smart home gadgets, search is the intelligent fabric that delivers the most relevant information when and where it’s needed.

Our internal research at Microsoft shows that, consumers search consistently—all day and well into the night. Increasingly, those search results are being delivered through a speaker by a synthetic-but-friendly voice, or presented as a short list within a phone app.


Search Gets Smarter

Search is getting better at understanding consumer intent and delivering actionable results. Why? With search becoming more embedded into our lives, an unprecedented amount of information about the people who are searching begins to add up.

This knowledge helps move the search experience from one that provides straight forward answers to search queries to one that mimics human thinking, providing better results based on our intent and preferences. Not only do we know more about users—location, past search activity, purchasing habits, likes and dislikes—but we also have access to data sources that provide facts about people, places and entities the user may be searching for.

Tapping into this treasure trove of information gives us a good idea what the consumer is likely to be seeking when performing a search. This, in turn, lets us give the consumer what he or she wants without explicitly asking. The result: a higher-value experience that gets the searcher that much closer to taking an action.


Marketers Must Evolve, Too

As technology and search continues to evolve at a break-neck pace, so do consumer expectations. The search industry, with its billions of human interactions per day, is uniquely qualified to offer a personalized experience to consumers.

The ability to instantly surmise consumer intent offers the chance to target highly personalized brand messages and content wherever the consumer might be. This means harnessing the conversational language of search and evaluating marketing strategies across the board—from keyword targeting to content creation to investment allocation.

As the number of search-powered devices in the marketplace multiplies –marketers will need to harness the potential of the massive amounts of data generated by an interconnected web of devices – including future technologies like virtual reality headsets.

In this new era of marketing, it’s going to be possible to see where users are interacting with offline messaging, when and where they are at in a retail store, which device they're using, and whether they're even in front of a traditional screen. Most important, marketers will be able to tie that information back to online user behavior, and respond accordingly.  

For brands, opportunities to reach consumers with personalized messaging and content have never been greater. The combination of a more human search experience, more places and ways that search is integrated into technology and better data insights will help brand stakeholders find the most efficient methods for bringing consumers closer to taking action.

It’s not just about gaining more business or even creating new audiences – it’s about harnessing the promise of the future.



To learn more, download The Humanization of Search[DT1]



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The Perfect Marriage of Art and Science in Storytelling

There’s no doubt that consumers are over exposed to marketing messages. Every day, at a whole host of moments, there’s a brand competing to engage with you and grab your attention. It’s a noisy world out there, and as such, brands are having to up their game.

As an industry we have some fantastic technology and tools to help marketers make sense of our audiences and how to gain their affection. That said, I’d hedge a bet that we’re all getting a bit distracted – you might say slightly dazzled – by over complication jargon and buzzwords. It’s important, but without the great ideas, marketing science is left a little high and dry. We need to avoid the danger of starting to undervalue the art and creativity that lies within our discipline.

The good news is that neuroscience now confirms what many marketers have been hedging their bets on for decades. Emotional storytelling is the answer to cutting through the noise in a way that improves brand recall, advocacy and referral. Why? I’m no neuroscience expert myself, but I happen to know a few, so here’s what I’ve gleaned from them.

It’s all about the left brain / right brain notion. Left side dominates in language, processing what you see and hear. When you need to retrieve a fact, your left brain digs it up from your memory. Your right side is in charge of movement, face recognition – registering the emotion and the ‘feel’. But one cannot function without the other. Put very simply, the left side feeds the data which helps the right to be creative.

It means the ultimate storytelling catalyst is still the big hairy creative idea. We need it to capture audience minds and spark passion and intrigue. Emotion kick starts a response. Combine it together with the insights that underpin the idea and you marry the art and science to create something personal, unique and memorable

Memorable storytelling needs to be interactive. This where technology and marketing science comes into the equation. It should stimulate a person’s imagination to create an entirely personal experience. But to motivate participation, the experiences created need to be more interactive than ever before.

Technology and creativity are today inextricably linked in more ways than one. The art and science of storytelling relies on the art of the medium and the message, with the science of the delivery and the personalisation of the experience.

Technology is mass media’s new best friend in many ways. Reading the IAB’s most recent AdSpend report almost half of online display ads were bought programmatically last year. But the art and science can’t exist without each other. Without genuinely great stories at the heart, there are no great campaigns, there are no moments to capture audiences’ hearts and minds, and there would be nothing to programmatically amplify. We brought this to life last year with a live OOH campaign for Cortana, our digital personal assistant, which delivered changing daily messages, deeply personalised to a number of factors such as weather, location etc. We also got into a little debate about cricket with a local resident, Chris, from Edinburgh.

We need to celebrate the opportunities the two together create, not address them in silos or worse, at the expense of each other. Isn’t that the secret ingredient to a happy marriage? We need to celebrate the opportunities the two together create, not address them in silos or worse, at the expense of each other. Isn’t that the secret ingredient to a happy marriage?

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