In movies, there is a common trope of the underdog: an upstart character, beloved often from the start, and cheered on—right up until the end when they overthrow some sort of seemingly impossible obstacle. It’s a nice idea that makes for a good screenplay. Sadly for Microsoft, it doesn’t appear to extend to search engines.
In its latest attempt to bring new users to an oft-forgotten platform, Bing announced two large updates. The first brings new image integration for Bing ads, while the second update brings Bing firmly into the mobile marketing arena with a new app.
Before diving into the updates, it should be important for marketers—particularly those working with larger, more established brands—to understand that Bing is not insignificant when it comes to SEO. Back when Bing launched its new ad platform in July, they also released surprising audience data that gave insight into just how much pull the search engine contender has. While certainly not on the same scale as Google, Bing still boasts an impressive audience (particularly for brands interested in targeting folks over the age of thirty-five) and a relatively less competitive ad space than Google.
Now, to improve its standing in the worlds of SEO and mobile marketing, Bing has released an overhauled version of its iPhone app, hoping to compete with Google’s Chrome. This is a particularly interesting move, as apps specifically perform well with Millennial audiences which, historically, Bing has had trouble capturing. In this, a move can be seen on the part of Bing to not only capture a mobile audience but perhaps also to engage with a younger crowd.
The changes to both Bing’s desktop and mobile presence largely focus on users experience. The app in particular now supports a number of contextual search results, returning things like movie ratings, images, and videos for search queries, rather than just a regular list of websites.
It makes for an attractive package, but it’s hardly a revolutionary step for search engines. It’s also a feature that hasn’t yet been extended to Cortana—Microsoft’s other search assisting app—possibly splitting features in a way that ultimately isn’t helpful for all of its users.
Meanwhile, on its desktop platform, Bing has rolled out image extensions for its ads program, allowing advertisers the opportunity to include images with its paid search ads. It may seem like a small change, but it’s one that simultaneously promises better engagement and conversions for marketers, while combined with Bing’s new app signals an increasing move toward a universal search format for the search engine. For digital marketers and SEO pros looking to take advantage of this shift, here are a few ideas to consider.
Overall, marketers should take these updates from Bing to indicate doggedness. It’s not going anywhere, and even with a smaller pull, there’s a clear and concerted push toward making the platform appealing for users. As new features are tested, new opportunities may present themselves for marketers. But for the time being, make sure that Bing’s concentrated audience matches up with your own before making the decision to try the platform out now, or later in the future.
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