New Bing Visual Identity Highlights Evolution of Search Beyond the Search Page

Today, Bing rolled out a new logo, design and color palette.  This new look aligns with other Microsoft products like Office, Windows and xBox.  The new visual identity also signifies the start of a major evolution for Bing; Bing is “stepping out of the search box” by integrating further into Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox, Maps, Word and Excel.  For instance:

  • Bing Smart Search is deeply integrated in the new Windows to enable users to easily search the Web, their own computers, apps and the cloud in an all-in-one experience
  • Bing powers discovery on the xBox—games, movies, music and TV shows
  • Bing will now integrate with Siri for iPhone users

And, as people experience Bing in more places, Microsoft is optimizing Bing for speed on smartphones and tablets.

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Search Marketers Must Also “Step Outside the Search Box”

Bing’s evolution is the latest reminder that search marketers must also step outside the search box.  Your participants now discover your products and services well beyond the traditional search page.  Thus, paid and organic search optimization strategies must extend to places like xBox, Siri, Internet-connected TVs, GPS units, operating systems, apps, etc..  Search marketers must foster discovery and engagement by being visible everywhere (and on every screen) their participants might find them.  This also requires deep participant understanding to create experiences and ads that are relevant to searchers  per touchpoint (game console, search page, GPS) and screen (TV, PC, smartphone).

Bing’s extension beyond the traditional search results page will also spur new, innovative paid search ad units.  Expect new opportunities to engage participants as this evolution unfolds.

New Features

Sidebar & Snapshot Combo

In the new design, Bing is now combining Sidebar and Snapshot.  Snapshot is the feature on the right side of Bing that displays all the factual info that Bing knows about a query, including info from Wikipedia, Yelp, Citysearch, etc..  Sidebar is the feature that shows what the searcher’s friends are saying on Facebook about the particular query; it also shows related results from influencers on sites like Twitter.  The new Bing streamlines Sidebar and Snapshot by combining the “factual” and “human” info and presenting it in a more engaging way:

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Snapshot Best Practices:

  1. Take Control: Claim your business listings and pages on sites that snapshot pulls content from (Yelp and Citysearch)
  2. Ensure Accuracy: Ensure all information is accurate and up-to-date for each business location
  3. Optimize: Help search engine spiders easily access and understand native site content that could show in snapshot.  This includes on-site content like your restaurant’s menu, your hotel’s rates or photos of your bar’s outdoor seating area.
  4. Monitor: Designate someone in marketing, customer relations or public relations to monitor your brand’s reviews on sites like Yelp
  5. Report: Report false and malicious reviews (or spam) to the site where the review originated from
  6. Participate!: Quickly respond to negative reviews to solve people’s problems.  Answer questions, thank positive reviewers and give special attention to advocates who might continue to talk positively.

Sidebar Best Practices:

  1. Create Sharable Content: Content like coupons, deals, contests, videos and articles is likely to be shared and talked about in social and is thus more likely to show up in Sidebar
  2. Encourage Sharing: Make sharing easy by adding sharing buttons (like, tweet, pin it) to all your brand’s content
  3. Build a Fan Base: Employ Facebook Engagement Ads to encourage social media users to “like” your page.  Because “likes” show up in sidebar, brands now have incentive to collect more fans.  But brands shouldn’t just gain fans; be sure to engage and activate those fans.
  4. Focus on Advocates: Give special attention to people who talk positively about your brand, link to your content and comment on your posts.  Encourage them to keep spreading the good word about your brand.
  5. Activate Influencers: Keep in mind that sidebar will also show subject matter experts who may not be friends with the searcher, but may be a good resource.  This means that your PR department should focus on engaging influencers in your vertical to get them to tweet about keywords related to your product.  Brands also now have more incentive to encourage their own employees to become influencers in their verticals on Twitter.
  6. Participate!: Don’t just listen to what your customers are saying in social, do something about it!  Ask them questions, solicit feedback and consider their advice.  They’ll then be more likely to recommend you to friends.

Page Zero Results

Page Zero results display as the user is typing a query to help searchers discover things more quickly.  Currently, the feature seems to be geared towards factual-based queries like celebrity names, places and things, as well as big online destinations like Amazon.  Thus, it shouldn’t impact search traffic for most brands at this time.  However, in the future, Page Zero could become an interesting place for sponsored ads.

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Pole Position

Another new feature, Bing will now display a prominent top organic results when it has high confidence in user intent (much like Google currently does).  Pole Position results may show on queries like celebrity images and weather.  Although only showing on a small number of queries, Pole Position pushes down the traditional organic results and may perhaps result in reduced traffic for sites like Weather.com, as seen below:

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For more information on Bing’s update, see Welcome to the New Bing.

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