Now that the world has had a bit of time to get used to Bing in all its glory, we’ve been giving some thought to what new opportunities it could present to brands.

As somebody who spends a lot of time talking with organisations about how they can make the best of Social Media opportunities (but who also has a long history in the world of search) it’s very exciting to see a brand new search engine. And not just a search engine; this appears to be a major shake-up in the world of search results.

Okay, perhaps I’m over-hyping it a little here (after all, that seems to be the trend at the moment!) Whatever way you look at it though, Bing is radically different to MSN/Live and it presents brands with some great new opportunities for getting themselves seen. Here’s a couple of examples:

“Oooh, pretty pictures…”

The search experts at Bing appear to have taken a leaf out of Google’s book with their new homepage, minimalism is clearly the way forward. But rather than just a page of white-space, Bing has opted for a daily-changing image background. Plus, and forgive me for a little geekiness here, it’s a background that resizes pretty well even when using small browser windows!

Anyway, today’s image for instance is of Alaska (you can find out by hovering over the copyright symbol in the bottom-right corner) and last week saw Greece.

Presumably this screen real-estate could be up for sale to the highest bidder at some point? In can see it now: a sprawling landscape of rolling hills, with a small “Visit Yorkshire” logo in the corner. And let’s face it, does it even need to be just a landscape to look pretty? Here’s a few ideas I mocked up (hopefully the guys at Bing won’t mind!):

Image copyright Henry Elliss
Image copyright Henry Elliss

“Oooh, *moving* pictures…”

Lots of people have been praising Bing for its (admittedly very impressive) video search functionality. Obviously this isn’t necessarily a revolutionary new function, as all the engines have been offering video search for ages,  but the in-page preview videos that you get are attracting a lot of attention from searchers.

Presumably Microsoft are going to start offering the opportunity to sponsor video results fairly quickly, but making sure you optimise your videos for these results should be a starting point for any brand at this point. 

“Let’s go shopping!”

With Bing’s much-publicised link-up with their recent acquisition ‘Ciao!’, the opportunity to get your products in front of users is again increased. It’s not just about paid results anymore, if Bing is going to try to persuade users that buying things is better done with Ciao than just a regular search, you (as a brand) need to make sure you are well represented in this area. Very interesting to see that Ciao’s sponsored results are provided by none other than Google too…!

I won’t go in to all the other new additions here, not least of all because a lot of them aren’t fully working here in the UK yet. Maps for instance still takes you to Multimap, yet visiting bing.com/maps gives a completely different set-up. Once Bing is fully “bedded in” we’ll be able to fully explore the new opportunities it presents.

Either way though, it’s definitely worth having a play around with Bing for yourself and looking at how well your brand is presented in it’s various different results.