Microsoft's marketing investment -- which reports have suggested will top $100 million -- in its new search engine, Bing, seems to be paying off in terms of name recognition.According to YouGovPolimetrix's BrandIndex measurement, one-quarter of U.S. adults (those 18 or older) had heard something about Bing between June 8 and June 22. Comparatively, on June 8, only about 8% of adults had heard anything about the search engine.
"Considering that a few months ago, no one even knew what the brand was going to be called, their success is pretty significant," Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGovPolimetrix, tells MediaPost. "If you're going to go up against Google, you need to make a pretty big bang, and that's what Microsoft has done."
Microsoft launched Bing in early June, calling it a "decision engine" that helped people better find what they were looking for in Web searches. A television and radio advertising campaign features people spouting nonsensical factoids and tangents to topics that come up in everyday conversations. Microsoft has also worked out deals to incorporate Bing into television and online video programming.
According to YouGov, 83% of American consumers say they have a preferred search engine. However, 81% of them are willing to consider another option. "That's encouraging to Microsoft," Marzilli says. "It tells you there's an opportunity there."
And given the ease of being able to find and use a search engine once you have name recognition, the opportunities for product trials are wide open. The key now is to ensure that consumers have a positive experience using Bing.com to encourage repeat usage. So far, Bing's BrandIndex numbers are in the teens, indicating more positive buzz than negative. "They're creating a fair bit of noise and a fair bit of that is positive," Marzilli says.
Still, Microsoft has a ways to go to catch Google. While 25% of people had heard something about Bing in the June 8-22 time period, nearly 53% had heard something about Google. (On June 8, when Bing's awareness was at 8%, Google's was at 57%.) However, catching Google -- particularly at this early stage -- may not be the only measure of Bing's success. Even unseating Yahoo as the No. 2 recognized search engine could be a "solid double," he says.
"They're certainly showing progress within the first few weeks of launch," Marzilli says. "Even if Microsoft is a strong number-two search engine, I'm not sure that's a failure."