June 14, 2011, 1:42 PM

IRCE 2011 Report: Google isn’t the only game in town

With more consumers using Bing, retailers need to develop strategies for the search engine.

Lead Photo

Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine, which also produces Yahoo Inc.’s search results, accounts for roughly 30% of consumers’ searches, according to May data from web measurement firm comScore Inc.

However, few attendees at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 pre-conference session, “How Bing changes everything: What search engine marketers need to know” raised their hands when asked whether they had Bing search strategies.

“If you’re not looking at Bing, you are leaving money on the table,” said Jake Fenske, Redbox director of new media.

That’s because Bing can produce significant results, he said. But to derive those gains requires understanding the way Bing works because its integrations with partners such as Facebook produces a different experience than Google.

For instance, if a consumer searches for the movie “The Dilemma” on Bing she is presented with the ability to click to watch a preview of the film from either Netflix or Hulu, to buy the film from iTunes or Zune, to view review summaries on both the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes, as well as to see which of her Facebook friends Liked the film. “She might not go forward from there because instantly she can find out that many did not like the movie,” said Eric Papczun, vice president, search engine optimization, Performics.

In turn, tactics that work on Google may not necessarily work on Bing because consumers use the two search engines differently, said Papczun. “The first thing you notice about Bing is that it is literally more colorful than Google,” he said. “Google paired down its interface to a simple box featuring a tool to access the web. Bing has built itself around images and finding pages to help consumers navigate the web. They’ve taken advantage of Google’s need to simplify things. Bing can build off Google’s work and take more risks because Google taught us searching behaviors.”

Testing various approaches has enabled Redbox to leverage Bing as a key marketing channel, said Fenske. “You have to understand the mindset of Bing customer—it is more shopping and retail focused than Google. Bing has positioned itself as a decision engine. It understands its place is to help you decide. For a retailer like Redbox that means helping shoppers decide what movie to rent and where they can rent it.”

When a consumer searches for “Redbox” on Bing he is presented with several options, including a link to find a nearby kiosk, a particular film, as well as to see what articles and films consumers are clicking that they Like on Redbox’s Facebook page.

Understanding that consumer mindset has helped Redbox achieve a 66% higher click-through rate on Bing than Google. The retailer’s Bing conversion rate is also 35% higher than Google, even though those Bing clicks cost more.

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