Steve Sirich, general manager Bing Ads marketing at Microsoft, chats with B&T about the future of search and how Bing is differentiating its search technology from its biggest competitor.
Since launching in the Australian market in 2013 Bing Ads has grown in market share from five per cent to double digits (10 per cent) in 2016. Sirich told B&T: “You want to get to a per cent where you pass the ‘straight face’ test with a marketer. Which means we can actually ask for a marketer’s time, that the investment I’m asking of them is actually meaningful.
“We’re very grateful for small wins because we know we’re in a competitive market with the likes of Google and the strong-hold they have globally with search.”
For Sirich, the main thing which differentiates Microsoft’s Bing from its biggest competitor Google is Microsoft’s perception of search technology and the future of search.
“Search is really relevant to people’s lives, it’s about connecting information with their intent and allowing them to take action. Search is strictly about linking information with intent, without linking it to intent it can be very irrelevant information.”
For those in the know; Siri’s voice search is powered by Bing’s technology, Mac’s Spotlight search interface is Bing’s technology and Amazon Kindle is powered by Bing’s technology as well.
“I’ve been involved in digital marketing for 20 years, but I’ve been around search really intentionally for the past seven. We’re still very much at the tip of the iceberg in terms of how people engage with search, when you think about it it’s pretty archaic that it’s still a keyboard and it’s a query box.
“We think about the search experience a little bit differently than Google, Google has their destination experience and we have our Bing.com, but we believe search is quickly moving beyond the destination experience.
“We believe search to be more of an intelligent platform that is a part of all the multiple experience that you engage with in terms of technology; it could be a wearable experience, it could be a phone experience, an xBox or gaming experience, it could be your technology in the car.”
The future of search will shift towards an emotional interaction becoming the technology and the human. “Now we’re really starting to think about, especially with voice search, a much more natural interface to the search experience. It’s more intuitive and more natural in terms of how people want to operate with technology.
“Especially when you layer on things like machine learning, you start to harness the index that Microsoft is building for search. We’re setting out to index the entire world, create a digital canvas so everything is available through search in terms of understanding an entity (an entity is a people, place or thing).” According to Sirich, Microsoft has acquired 28 billion entities of information across the globe.
“We are just beginning to shift the paradigm of really what search can be, as it starts to evolve to something much richer beyond the classic query in a box.”