On April 4th, in "Bada Bing... is Microsoft putting a Hit on Local Search?" I blogged that when Bill Gates filed a trademark under the name "Bing" for "web sites to link to geographic data, map images, and trip routing" it was Microsoft's attempt to perfect a better "local search" mousetrap than Google. However skeptics quickly associated it with "Kumo" as another failed attempt by the little "M" to ever become a worthy contender of the big "G". Now in and AdAge article published May 25, Abbey Klaasen suggests Microsoft might be sinking $80 to $100 million in a "Bing" ad campaign to go toe to toe with the search engine giant.
Klaasen notes "that's a big campaign -- big compared with consumer-product launches ($50 million is considered a sizable budget for a national rollout) and very big when you consider that Google spent about $25 million on all its advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, with about $11.6 million of that focused on recruiting. Microsoft, by comparison, spent $361 million. Certainly Google has never faced an ad assault of anything like this magnitude."
It's long been believed that Google is favored simply because it provides a better experience, serving up information we want faster and with less effort than rival search engines. Presently data shows that approximately 65% of online users are satisfied with online search. But according to Klaasen, "Microsoft sees an opening on its own proprietary search data: 42% of searches require refinement, and 25% of clicks are the back button."
Usually it doesn't take a lot to switch people from one type to another and usually it's a unique feature that gets people excited. I still believe that unique feature is "local search." Local search enables geographics to play a dominant role in why visitors search for specific keyword from identifying a physician, to a hotel stay or where they folks would like to have dinner. It's also a "cash cow" for Google's Adsense programs, even though Google does not presently charge for local search per se.
Because Microsoft was specific in their trademark filing to associate "Bing" with geographic data, map images, and trip routing, my guess is that Microsoft has found the chink in the Google armor where they can seize an opportunity to finally outshine their worthy opponent.
Now, let's hear from you. Do you think the little (search) engine that could will finally have its day in the sun? Do you think Microsoft's "Bing" is the roll out of a better "Local Search" engine? Vote today.