Bing's Growing Market Share & Google's Change in Search Results - What This Means for eCommerce

Author Allison Smith
by Allison Smith , VP Online Marketing

For eCommerce: Google is Great, but is Bing Better?

We cannot deny Google’s weight – let’s just get that out in the great, wide open; the massive engine commands over 66% of the market share. Take notice, however, of the new neighbor Bing, who, after just a few short years, holds a growing, albeit smaller, slice of the market share.

Market share matters, yes, but what about user behavior? Any search engine marketer worth their salt knows that you can’t just go by rankings to determine if a campaign is successful; you have to look at performance, user behavior, and the ultimate ROI. How is an engine any different? If you run an ecommerce website, there is something you should know: the money may be greener on Bing’s side of the fence.

But first: What do Henry Winkler and Google Have in Common?

Did you ever watch Happy Days, that beloved sitcom of yore with the spinning vinyl records and the poodle skirts and Joanie loves Chachi and the quirky parents who harbored an ever-cool Fonzie in the space above their garage? Season after season, the show stayed successful. Sure, not every episode was a smash hit; like weebles, the show’s popularity would wobble but not fall down. It wasn’t until one fateful episode when audiences knew the sun was really setting on Happy Days; when the Fonz donned his signature leather jacket, flicked up the collar, “Aaaaaayyyyy,” stepped into some water skis, coasted the ocean waves, and jumped – wait for it – a shark. They say if you watch that scene today, and listen very carefully, you can hear Henry Winkler’s soul weeping.

This is all just in case you pondered the etymology of a phrase now used to describe an entity that’s hit its prime and is henceforth on the downslide. And that’s just what some wonder is happening to Google.

In her article, "Has Google Jumped the Shark?", Kristine Schachinger spoke for a lot of us wondering at some of Google’s decisions as of late, and their direction in the search community.

A Local Anesthetic

Ms. Schachinger lists the ten ways she thinks Google can reclaim their former stature, including recommendations to drop instant search, personalized search, that stalker of a Google map in the SERPs, et al. Also included is a wish for reprieve, or at least an OPTION of a reprieve, from Google’s local search, tunnel-vision.

According to a December 7th article from the Wall Street Journal, Google’s Susan Wojcicki, a senior vice president, says the local ad market is “her biggest priority.”

In fact,

"That is my biggest focus…How can we enable you, when you’re walking around, to find out the best local offers around? As an advertiser, how can I find out if someone saw my ad and went to a store? The local market is a huge market, we’ve always wanted to be in it."

Fantastic, Google! Really! Devoid of all sarcasm: local search is helpful, convenient, lovely. No one is denying the utter convenience of not having to search with local qualifiers or being able to precisely pinpoint local stores and specials; to say nothing of the play-by-play directions by foot, car, or mass transit. Also, no can deny the power of local reviews; according to a survey conducted by UK SEO firm, BrightLocal, 55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews, and 67% of respondents say they trust online reviews as much as the coveted, word of mouth recommendations (an aside: TripAdvisor tells Google to, in the words of the Fonz, sit on it when it comes to displaying reviews).

Blah, blah, blah…what does this mean to me?

If yours is an ecommerce site situated to sell to the global audience, how do you fit in with local search? Especially if you don’t operate a brick and mortar store front?

Bada BING!

Adam Audette posted an Oh, yeah, that’s a really good point kind of article last week regarding the much-ignored power of Bing in the online marketing industry. Even Eric Schmidt says Bing is Google’s biggest threat, and Audette believes Bing’s growing market share will continue its upward climb. Why?

1.Their long-term, strategic plan
2.Their investments in search
3.Their innovations, particular in application to their algorithm
4.Google’s “explicit” commercialism
5.Their big budget
6.They’re powering Yahoo’s SERPs

Couple that prediction with the present performance statistics related to the average Bing user’s propensity to click Buy, and it becomes even clearer why ecommerce sites should be feeling all warm and fuzzy about Bing.

• Bing users are 11% more likely to buy than Google users
• Bing users are 31% more likely to buy than the average web user

Of course, front-runners of any industry are their thanks to long-term, hard work, and nothing is usurping Google in a day. Not even a shark.

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