If you’ve been following the digital news, you’ve already read up on how Microsoft’s Bing is likely to change the way we all search. But what does Bing mean for your own company’s search marketing strategy?
Quite a bit, I’d argue.
First, expect Bing to deliver a higher volume of long-tail keyword searches. That’s one inevitable result of Bing’s highly touted drill-down features, designed to guide searchers from initial broad searches (like “direct mail”) to refined searches (like “direct mail postcards” or “mail list”), in just a few clicks. Search advertisers who see each keyword as an opportunity to reach the most precisely defined group of searchers possible will be able to reap the benefits of their experience. Search advertisers who tend to choose the broadest-based keywords may need to re-work their strategies.
Second, Bing will require search marketers to rethink search’s relationship to other marketing channels. That’s because Bing results aren’t just search listings: many Bing health searches lead to full-length articles that appears within Bing, for example; and many Bing travel searches call up Bing/Microsoft travel services. Many of Bing’s content results also feature display ads. Suddenly, search advertisers will be forced to consider search/content and search/display media connections, like how search data can help guide display media buys, and how prior searches impact responsiveness to display ads. For many search marketers, that’s foreign territory.
Most importantly, though, Bing will demand that search marketers engage in a wholly new approach to search strategy. For a while now, advertising has been evolving into a targeted, multichannel experience in which advertisers communicate with one consumer at a time, over an unlimited number of touchpoints. Bing–with long-tail keywords that speak to individual searchers rather than large pools of search engine users; plus its search paths that carry users from search queries to display ads on content pages–pushes search one step further in this evolution. New technologies, new analytics, and new highly multichannel strategies will be demanded.
Will your own search marketing teams be ready for that shift? Bing will force you to find out.