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Thursday, July 16, 2009
Bing Gains on Yahoo, Google

Microsoft's Bing search engine generated significant trial, was successful at increasing Microsoft?s share of search page results, and, to a lesser degree, Microsoft?s share of search sessions and search queries, according to Comscore research data for June.

Here is the comparison of June metrics compared to May, according to Comscore:

There was a significant increase of 14.7% in penetration (shown above), driven by new trial which continued to build throughout the month. However, it is important to understand how much of this incremental trial resulted in repeat business. To answer this question, Comscore looked at users who came back for at least another day after their first day of trial during the month of June. The research firm found that 53% of incremental trial users repeated during the month of June. A more important repeat metric is what percent of trial users come back within a 30-day period, which will be available when comScore?s July data are released.

Despite the strong trial and respectable repeat rate, Microsoft?s share of queries increased by only 4.5% in June. "One reason is that while Bing has built a larger base of repeat searchers, it only benefited from their queries after their first trial, said Andrew Lipsman, Director of Industry Analysis at ComScore. "And since many of the new trial users came in throughout June, Bing?s share benefited from only a portion of monthly activity from trial users. One would expect the queries from those users to be higher in July, with a full month of usage," he added.

Another contributing factor is that, while the share of search sessions increased by 8.9%, repeat users are now conducting fewer search queries per session (down from 2.33 to 2.18). While this adversely affects query share, it may be a reflection of a better search user experience with Bing compared to Live. This would be the case if users were able to get to their ultimate result faster, with fewer queries in a session.

"Bottom line, Bing has had an initial positive impact on Microsoft?s search position. However, one thing is clear: Closing the gap with its competitors won?t happen overnight. Marketing will certainly help generate more trial, but ultimately the product?s biggest opportunity is to capture a higher share of usage among the 41%+ of searchers that are now using Microsoft but only for a portion of their monthly searches. This will ultimately depend on improved user experience, particularly relative to competitors," Lipsman added.

"Not surprisingly, it all comes back to sustained product performance. Only time will tell if the search experience provided by Bing is compelling enough to increase adoption and change searcher behavior over the long term."

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