Will Bings TV campaign make an impact on search market share?

Microsoft announced on Monday that they are to launch a multi-million pound TV campaign for Bing to challenge Google’s dominance within the UK. The first ad is now available on Youtube.

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The opportunity for Bing

Steve Ballmer recently said that their approach is to “take a little here and there” from the search giant but they are clearly taking the UK market very seriously indeed. Who can blame them, the UK is the only country in the world where online ad spend exceeds TV and with 60% of that currently being spent on paid search the opportunity is immense.

How can we measure this?

We, as UK search marketers, used to laugh at the top search phrase in Live and Yahoo! being “Google” and the target market being “people that don’t know how to update their home page” Perhaps we will see the reverse next month. TV marketers claim that their channel influences online brand search. At the moment Google external tool is reporting 823,000 searches for “Bing” locally and 11.1 million globally.

Personally I think the market could do with more competition as we tend to be Google obsessed in the UK, and rightly so, but a second competitor in the search space would be good.

Another interesting side effect could be that Bing will be able to attract some direct traffic. Recent Hitwise numbers show that the fourth largest traffic driver to Bing is… Google. I’m sure Bing would like to stand on its on two legs a little bit more. This campaign could be the start of that.

Another dark horse in this race for online ad spend could be Facebook who seems to have improved their behavioral targeting although they still arent giving me ads for kiteboarding which is one of my keen interests.

Im also not overly sold on a TV campaign having that much impact when the trust in Google is so ingrained in the UK. Google continues to be at the top of the brand trust pile and I simply dont think money is going to change this. Innovation resulting in better quality results could win market share but from my perspective there isnt anything tangible at the moment to initiate a change in user behavior.

I’m pretty interested to see what happens in the coming months. Do you think that Bing will grab significant market share in 2010?

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About Louis Venter

Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.

  • “the UK is the only country in the world where online ad spend exceeds TV and with 60% of that currently being spent on paid search the opportunity is immense.”

    I suspect the enormous spend on PPC may be related to Google’s dominance in the UK marketplace. After all, with Google being by far the biggest player, advertisers only need to focus on Google Adwords, making it much more straightforward – only one tool to use, one approach to understand.

    I wonder what will happen if/when Bing gains a bigger marketshare. Will overall PPC spend drop when advertisers will need to divide their expertise among two ad platforms? Or will the overall spend increase as advertisers attempt to perform well on both?

  • Thats a very good point Barry. In my experience the effort and cost required to run PPC campaigns in the other engines was never really justified. I think though that it would remain largely the same as the cost of the traffic from Bing would be lower than Google therefore the campaign cost would be absorbed. Thats my gut feel on it anyway but i’m no PPC guru 🙂