While Bing’s big revamp earlier this year focused a lot on social, Microsoft is launching a campaign today that emphasizes Bing’s core functionality: search.
The “Bing It On” challenge lets users compare Google and Bing search results side by side. On the BingItOn.com website, you can type in five search queries, with the results from each search engine displayed — unidentified by which search engine — in two columns. For each query, you choose a winner (or a draw). At the end of the five queries, you’ll find out which search engine you preferred.
Most people automatically turn to Google for their Web searches, acknowledged Karin Muskopf, a Microsoft senior product manager. “We want to show people that there is an alternative choice and a better alternative, at that,” she said, citing a study commissioned by Microsoft showing people preferred Bing search results in blind comparison tests.
Microsoft is launching a nationwide TV and online ad campaign (see below for an example) in conjunction with the challenge. Muskopf declined to disclose the cost of the campaign.
Google, meanwhile, continues to dominate, accounting for slightly less than 67 percent of all U.S. searches in July, according to research firm comScore.
Microsoft has struggled mightily to make money with Bing, which is part of the Online Services division that last fiscal year posted a loss of $8.1 billion (which includes a $6.2 billion write-down related to Microsoft’s 2007 acquisition of online ad company aQuantive). Without that writedown, the loss was $1.9 billion.
Here’s a video from Microsoft showing the challenge in action. (In tone and approach, by the way, it feels quite similar to the “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign that challenges people to compare Windows Phone’s functionality to that of other smartphones.):
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(Screenshot from Microsoft’s BingItOn.com)