The evolution of the search experience has drastically changed in the last 20 years, and the way people find information continues to change, too.
Search has become more than just a destination people visit in a browser – it is embedded into daily life.
Since the launch of Windows 11, search has become even more prominent within the PC experience. This helps simplify the ability to search without the need to launch a browser or click to another website.
There are many reasons people choose their own choice of search experience – whether this is by habit, by default or just not knowing what other options consumers have.
There are even search engines created here in Australia that enable you to remove plastic from the ocean, or plant trees to be more sustainable.
What has been seen is that consumers want choice, they want products and services that create value with efficiency and ease.
Having search engine choice and how to give back to the world
Awareness of the variety of different search engines increased this past year since the beginning of 2021.
In recent Microsoft research, it was uncovered that 85 per cent of consumers say they’ll only consider a brand if they trust the brand, and 88 per cent want brands to step up on sustainable lifestyles.
This should apply not just to brands consumers buy from, but businesses they choose to support with products – even search engines.
Searching with purpose
Search engines provide more than just ‘results’, helping us get from point A to point B. The last 10 years have seen the emergence of unique, values-based search engines.
There are different reasons people choose their search engine of choice, be it to give back to communities, to charities, to receive gift cards or to be more sustainable.
The value you can receive from a search engine can align to your personal values, whilst respecting the enormous importance of privacy and trust with data. For example, here are three reasons why you could try a different search engine:
- Microsoft Bing – ‘Search that Gives Back’: You can search, earn points and donate to more than one million charities globally including more than 2,100 in Australia. This includes non-profits like Mission Australia, The Nelune Foundation and Indigitek, which helps Indigenous people pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. Since launch, Give with Bing has donated more than $13million[i] to incredible non-profits, at no cost to the consumer.
- DuckDuckGo – ‘Privacy Search’: Internet privacy is critical, and this search engine empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any trade-offs. In 2021 alone, DuckDuckGo made more than $1 million[ii] in donations to privacy and competition organizations around the world.
- Ecosia – ‘Sustainable Search’: The importance of sustainability both from a consumer and commercial perspective remains extremely high on almost every business priority list. This search engine helps plant trees in 30-plus countries with local organisations, including Australia where 67,000 trees[iii] have been planted since the bushfires that raged in early 2020. Globally at the time of writing, more than 137 million trees[iv] have been planted worldwide.
As marketers, it’s often hard keeping up to date with so many choices consumers use, and for agencies and brands, the challenge has been time to reach them.
Microsoft has simplified this reach by broadening their search network – meaning brands can deliver targeted campaigns within Microsoft Ads – yet reach consumers across more than seven search engines.
The business search experience evolution: increasing employee productivity
The modern workplace looks quite different than it did 10 years ago. More people are working outside of the office and using myriad devices and tools to get their work done.
No matter where people work or what kind of device they use, they need the ability to quickly and easily find the information that will help them be more productive.
When you need to find something to get work done, what do you do? If you’re like many people, you look through your personal files or company intranet to find what you need.
If you don’t know or remember enough about the document you need, your search experience can be difficult and time-consuming. The time you put into searching could instead be used to complete your current task.
Search shouldn’t hold you back, but rather propel us forward to do more in less time. The good news is that the need for a more intelligent search experience has been recognised by many solution providers.
Now, it’s up to you to find which solution will work best for you. The ideal solution will make your search experience ubiquitous across the applications you use, keep you in your workflow and leverage the knowledge that already exists within your organisation.
Microsoft Search increases your productivity and saves time finding information you need. Microsoft Search allows you to search across all your enterprise content across Microsoft 365 and more through a consistent experience across all Microsoft entry points so you can search wherever you are working, delivering more relevant, personalised results in a secure and trusted environment for businesses.
The brand advertising experience evolution: industry-based experiences
The advertising search experience has evolved over many years. In what began as ‘10 blue links’, now Microsoft Advertising provides more unique, rich, and visual experiences to help brands capture attention in new, innovative ways.
New experiences include the introduction within search engine results showcasing multimedia ads and video ads within results, as well as industry-specific experiences such as automotive ads, hotel ads and credit card ads.
Each experience helps marketers reach potential customers, whilst also providing new experiences than what customers are previously used to, throughout the marketing funnel.
Leveraging these new experiences can help broaden brand awareness, capture attention within the search experience and drive consumers to your site.
Search experiences have moved beyond a list of links, to a world of search results that seamlessly combine information in a way that’s intuitive and engaging.
With more people online now than ever, search continues to play a critical role in helping people find what they need, and it is important for trusted search partners to connect brands with people at the intersection of work and life.
Consumers have a choice, and aligning to your values means you can continue to find what you need whilst also giving back to those in need or the environment.
As marketers focus on developing exceptional customer experiences, search engine experiences are no different.
For brands looking to reach Australians across the search network of alternative search engines, you can find out more information at https://about.ads.microsoft.com/en-au.
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- Adam Goodman, national agency lead (AUNZ), Microsoft Advertising
- Renee Stopps, sales and partner director (APAC), Microsoft Advertising
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