Microsoft is launching a TV ad campaign this week to attempt to persuade web users to make the switch from Google to Bing. 

After seeing the Bing ad, which attacks the 'information overload' of Google's results, presumably a few Google users will be persuaded to give Bing a try, but will they be impressed enough to stick with it?


Judging by some user testing I've seen, it will take a lot more from Bing to get users to make the switch... 

I've been provided with some videos of user testing by which show habitual Google users trying out Bing for the first time.  

Testers were asked to repeat the last Google search they did on Bing and after this to look for three digital camera retailers. At the end of the test they were asked what, if anything, would make them switch from using Google to Bing.

Tester 1 (Female, 55+)

This user preferred Bing to Google because she could filter out US search results. She had been using Google search via the browser toolbar and has therefore not noticed this option before. 

Tester 2 - (Male, 35 - 54)

This user was impressed with the Bing property search results, finding them more relevant, but still would keep Google as their primary search engine. 

Another two users tested Bing as well, and while they thought some features of Bing were preferable to Google, such as the maps and the video and image search functions, neither were convinced enough to switch to Google.  

Interesting, one tester wouldn't consider switching to Bing anyway because they already use so many Google services like Gmail, Google Docs and Calendars, which shows how effectively Google has tied users into its search engine with a range of features beyond just search. 

The search market in the UK could certainly do with some competition and more choice for consumers, and there are some compelling reasons why Google may need to worry about Bing; Microsoft has deep enough pockets to raise awareness, and Bing isn't a bad search engine by any means. 

However, as these user tests suggest, it may still struggle to attract more users as, while it is a decent search engine, it isn't different enough, or obviously better than Google, which would it would have to be to convince people to make the switch. 

Graham Charlton

Published 12 March, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (6)

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Jonathon Oake

I think they've got a real uphill battle, and unfortunately I'm not sure the product benefits of Bing will really be too much of a factor. A search engine is a consumer choice that for most has a very low level of involvement from people ... consumers will opt for easiness, closeness and convenience over quality. If Google is broadly fit for purpose a small incremental product benefit won't motivate people to switch. And if Google wasn't fit for purpose, there's no reason why they can't tweak their service. Having said that Bing will make a small impact, but in the world of search that will translate directly to big money, and will likely more than pay off the cost of their campaign.

over 8 years ago

Jonathan Beeston

Jonathan Beeston, Director, New Product Innovation, EMEA at Media & Advertising Solutions, Adobe

I don't think this is about product features or functionality, it's about brand. Through luck or judgement, Google has built a phenomenal brand. Microsoft's challenge is to put the Bing brand into the public conciousness, because the product is right up there with Google's.

over 8 years ago

Gareth James

Gareth James, Freelance SEO Consultant at SEO Doctor

I would love to see a big switch, it would do search marketing a lot of good.

over 8 years ago


Jules - Kawasaki Motorbike Insurance

I would love to see some serious competition to G but Bing's results just aren't up to it. I love having it as my homepage though - the daily photos of different places are a nice touch but I invariably find myself going back to G.

over 8 years ago



That is one wired ugly ad. And it associates with bing (windows live), not google.

over 8 years ago


Pedro Da Silva, Online Marketing Manager at American Express

Interestingly, I've been hearing alot of noise from Bing and the upcoming capabilities and sadly when I tried to jump on Bing maps to do some comparative searches the system would not respond and just kept me hanging for a long time.

Ultimately I just feel that Google have been able to demonstrate that a low graphic/creative tool with super fast response times will always outperform a rich creative tool with slower response times.

For my part, I definitelly prefer a 'creative neutral' Search engine and e-Mail platform, I don't need to have a pretty picture and hidden facts. I feel it distracts me from my search for info and goes somewhat against information overload statement in the ads.

over 8 years ago

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