A Look Back at a Month of Binging

Bing launched just over a month ago, to great fanfare and moderately good reviews. Now, it’s time to see if Microsoft has gotten anything for its massive ad budget and R&D costs. Too bad for Redmond, Bing is a lot of splash, but not much else.

According to a JPMorgan survey released today, lots of people (59.1 percent, pretty good for a new brand) have heard of the search engine, and 24.9 percent have actually tried it. Unfortunately, this is more representative of new product testing than actual behavior change — which is what Microsoft needs. Of those who tried Bing, only 38.9 percent used it more than five times last month. On the plus side, those who tried it had a positive user experience.

bing2Bing isn’t a bad search engine by any means, but the main issue, according to the survey, is people don’t have any problems with their search engine of choice. 62.6 percent of respondents indicated they saw no weaknesses in their current search experience — so why would they switch? JPM predicts Bing will generate slight market share gain over the old Live.com, perhaps as much as 2 percent, but it would be mostly at the expense of Ask and AOL — not Google and Yahoo.

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Hitwise noted last week that Google accounted for 74.04 percent of all U.S. searches in June, a rise of 0.42 percent over May — while Bing only managed 5.25 percent of searches, a 0.39 percent drop from May. On a strong note for Microsoft, though, searches on Bing.com grew 25 percent week over week, throughout the month of June. This could be an indication of the beginning of a behavior change with users — or it could be that, as Microsoft’s ad campaign ramps up, more people are taking Bing for a test drive. Whether this translates into long-term search growth, we simply don’t know yet.

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