Will the new TV campaign impact on Bing market share

by Peter Young on March 8, 2010 · 1 comment

You may have read over the weekend that Microsoft have launched a new multi-million pound advertising campaign to hit UK screens this week aiming to increase its market share within the UK search market.

The three-month campaign, which includes three new TV ads created by the design ad powerhouse JWT, starts on Wednesday and uses the strapline “Bing and decide” – and will be aimed at highlighting Bing’s evolution as a decision engine. The TV campaign will feature ordinary people asking for information and getting their answers from Bing and will run for a month and then on a two-week bursts until Mid-June. This will be supported by an equally massive digital campaign across Microsoft’s network and other media including social networking sites such as Facebook.

“This is a big moment – we are taking out our slingshots and taking on Goliath,” said Microsoft’s UK managing director, Ashley Highfield, adding that he believed Bing met a real desire from both consumers and advertisers. He went on to suggest that people worldwide may have forgotten that there is an alternative search engine to Google.

Whilst its good to see Microsoft putting their money where their mouth is however how much of an impact this will have will be difficult to gauge. Following some significant traction following its launch, Bing market share has stagnated recently. This increase in exposure is likely to cement its position as the second largest player in the UK search engine landscape – however just how much of a bite out of Google’s apple it will take is still to be seen – particularly given around $100 million was spent on the initial launch of Bing.

Given their current position in the UK market therefore it is no real suprise to see some above the line activity come into play during at this stage – and one would suggest that this will result in some pickup of market share – and that market share is likely to come from Google – however the potential return is still open to debate. Given Ask.com undertook similar activity in order to increase their UK market share with limited success , one has to query whether this is likely to result in any significant market gains from Google.

Their best point of attack still stands with their product – however this is something Google have always been very good at competing against. Google have a hell of a head start in terms of their product – however this hasn’t stopped them consistently integrating new products and technologies – and whilst I am not a fan of many of the recent incarnations – it does highlight their consistent drive for better performance.

If Bing are to compete – this is where they will have to do it. There is no point throwing money at something if their is little substinance to back it up – or as one of my colleauges would say – ‘Just because you put on an engine on a set of draws – does not make it a sports car’. Bing need their product to evolve – to provide similar primary features as Google and then some.

They have certainly taken a different tact with one of the primary aims of the campaign to contrast the “visually rich” Bing with the relatively austere-looking Google. “It is a battle not just of mind but of heart as well,” he said. “We are wanting to make an emotional connection – we are ploughing a different furrow here.”

Ploughing a different furrow they might be however I can’t help thinking gains from this activity will be small in the medium to long term if this activity is not backed up with further developments on the platform itself. However if as Highfield suggests that Bing can make that emotional connection – then we may at last have a fight on our hands. I however won’t hold my breath…..

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David Towers March 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

Interesting post Pete. In the short term, I think the TV campaign will definitely give Bing a boost in market share. I suppose whether or not that is reflected in the long term will be dependent upon how these users find the search results… Similar to you, I’m not convinced it’s going to have a significant long term impact on their market share.

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