Bing Attracts New Searchers, But So Far Only For a Trial

Unless you’re completely new to the internet industry, or have been on vacation for the past two weeks, you’ve probably heard a lot about Bing, Microsoft’s slick new search engine.

On June 1st, Microsoft officially launched Bing with $100M ad campaign, including TV commercials, and started redirecting traffic from Live Search and vertical search engines like Farecast over to Bing.com.

So how’s it going? At first glance, not too bad.

One week since launching, Bing has raised Microsoft’s searcher penetration by 2.3ppts to 11.4%.

We trended the daily change in searcher penetration over the past week to show how marketing and buzz around the Bing launch has greatly extended the reach it inherited from MSN/Live.

A 2.3ppt improvement on a 9.1% penetration base is impressive. Yet this uptick hasn’t come at the expense of Google or Yahoo!, which have maintained searcher penetration since Bing’s launch.

New searchers are exploring Bing, but they haven’t forsaken their preferred engines and made the switch completely.

That’s also evident in a critical engagement metric: queries per searcher. Bing has significantly dropped Microsoft’s average queries per searcher since launch.

Prior to Bing’s launch, Microsoft maintained an average 5.2 queries per searcher. Since Bing’s launch, the average has dropped by 1.3 queries or 25%, with millions dropping by just to perform a couple of trial queries.

Those trial searchers haven’t produced significant enough volume to impact the established market share of the top engines, which account for more than 12 billion queries, according to Compete’s panel.

Since Bing’s launch, the average daily market share of the top engines has remained essentially unchanged. If anything, the day of week fluctuations in Google’s massive query base has overshadowed Microsoft’s uptick from Bing’s launch.

So Bing has had great success in attracting new searchers, but these have been dabblers that have not given up on their old engines (yet) and not generated enough queries to move the needle.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be watching Bing to see where these dabblers are coming from (Google? Yahoo!?) and, critically, if they will return to Bing for more than just a trial run.