Bing ended 2011 as the second largest search engine in the US. While Google is still the top used search engine for core web searches, Bing gained the most traction year over year and grew its share of the market by 4.4ppt’s to 16.3% while Google experienced a decline of 3.7ppt’s and now stands at 67.9% of the market.
What is driving Bing’s growth?
Bing is changing the way consumers engage with search. In the late fall of 2010 they rolled out Bing Rewards, a loyalty program that encourages consumers to search and share on Bing by earning credits available for redemption at various retailers such as Red Box and Amazon. You’ll notice the first wave of monthly share gains began in January of 2011.
Then they began to integrate Facebook “social signals” into their search results in May. This coincided with the steady increase in share that they began to experience in June. Their renewed partnership with Twitter was announced in September. Bringing this channel of real-time information into its search results could have provided Bing with a competitive advantage that precipitated the share gains they experienced in last few months of the year.
Bing is not just gaining share in terms of query volume but their strategies are also getting more unique users to its engine. Of the top three engines, it saw the biggest absolute increase in the number of unique users in 2011:
The first commercial for its new campaign “Bing Is For #Doing” will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday, and positions Bing as an engine that is not just for information retrieval but as something people use to “do more” in their lives. Will this new approach to search lead to further market share gains for Bing? Will Rewards, Facebook, and Twitter provide a better user experience than the recently launched Google Search Plus Your World (integrating Google+ information within Google’s search results)? Stay tuned.