Fast Company has a fascinating article on Bing’s background images and how they are used to market the Bing service. While Google updates their logos to be fun and creative on special birthdays or occasions, Bing revamps their background with an image that stands out and leaves users asking for more.
If you haven’t noticed, Bing updates their home page background graphic daily (sometimes more often), with images and photography that are real eye catchers. They even add interactivity behind the background graphic by adding hotspots to the image, which lead to useful search queries.
Stephanie Horstmanshof, managing editor of Bing and the so-called “queen of the homepage” told Fast Company, “we thought it was a way to differentiate–to make things come alive and more approachable.”
How does Bing select which photo they want on their home page? Bing has a meeting every few weeks with a group of decision makers who review tons of user submitted photos and other photography and then pick the best to show on their home page. They don’t just look for pretty and interesting photos, they look for images that “makes you want to find out more about it,” said Horstmanshof.
After the photos are selected, a Bing writer adds the hotspots over the images and the background is scheduled in. The hotspots, along with the image, purpose is to drive more queries and show off Bing’s search capabilities.
The key here is to bring searchers back daily to use Bing more and more. I should note that Bing had the backgrounds and hotspots well before Bing was even a brand. Microsoft launched these background and hotspots under the “Live Search” brand, which failed to help Microsoft capture much market share. Bing, on the other hand, has been successful in increasing market share over the years.