Is Bing Hurting Advertisers With Categorized Results? - InformationWeek

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IoT
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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
6/19/2009
12:17 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Is Bing Hurting Advertisers With Categorized Results?

Where possible, Microsoft's new Bing search engine provides categorized search results. The concept appears to be a good for users but what about for advertisers?

Where possible, Microsoft's new Bing search engine provides categorized search results. The concept appears to be a good for users but what about for advertisers?When you enter your search query into the Bing search engine, results are displayed for your query plus for other queries that Bing believes you might be more interested in. For example, if you search for HTML, you get results for HTML, HTML Overview, HTML Specifications, HTML Tools, HTML Implementations, and HTML Community. If you search for Microsoft you are presented with results for Microsoft, Microsoft Products, Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft Investor Relations, Microsoft Company History and Microsoft Jobs.

The idea of providing categorized results (something Hakia says they invented) is great for users as they get a nibble of each category. The user can then decide if they would rather see a full page of results for one of the presented categories. But what happens if a user selects one of the search results provided in a category directly?

To answer my question, if a user clicks a search result in a category presented on the first page, any potential ads are not displayed with that search result. The only ads that are displayed match the initial search query. The user isn't presented with any ads that match the categories on the results page. I think this hurts the experience for the user, the opportunity for the advertiser and the financial opportunity for Microsoft.

As an advertiser, I now need to spend even more time researching what categories my terms might appear in and then bid for those terms as well to even have a chance of being seen by searchers. My guess is that this will also push prices up for the main terms.

Microsoft says they are looking into displaying ads with each category in the future. As an advertiser, I hope they prioritize this change high on the list of Bing updates.

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