It’s been almost two weeks since Microsoft thankfully retired the Windows Live Search brand and instead started asking us if we Bing.
Well, aside from the initial reports that Bing is seeing an increase in market share, there could be an even more important benefit of the new design. Bing might just make more money per search query than Google.
As you may have noticed, Bing uses a three column design for its search results page. Having just returned from Microsoft’s Search Summit, I can confirm that this wasn’t just done on a whim, but very carefully thought out. One of the driving factors for the design, was the ability to give Bing users a vast array of data and refinement options. In essence, Bing gave that left hand navigational column a prime time spot.
So, what happens when you shake-up the design of a search results page? The search engine user breaks that zombie stare they once used to focus purely on the middle column of results. In other words, their eye starts roving. In fact, as User Centric’s eye studies have shown, Bing users–faced with a 3-column design–are much more likely to view the paid ads that run down the right-hand column.
…sponsored links on the right attracted more attention on Bing (~42% of participants per search) than they did on Google (~25% of participants per search). The participants who fixated on these links spent approximately 2.5 seconds looking at the area during transactional searches and 2 seconds during informational searches. These times were similar for the two search engines.
Now, it could just be the novelty factor. More likely, the design of Bing encourages the searcher’s eye to look beyond the typical ten blue links. If this trend holds, advertisers will be delighted at the additional engagement Bing brings to their ads. And that engagement means more money for Microsoft’s coffers!
In other words: BadaBing Leads to ChaChing!