Microsoft Takes Its ‘Bing It On’ Campaign To The UK, Where Google Has Royal Grip On Search


Hey search engine users in the UK, Microsoft wants a few minutes of your time.

The company this week launched its “Bing It On” campaign in the UK, inviting searchers to compare its search results directly against Google’s. Microsoft is challenging Google’s seemingly unassailable status as the king of search there. Google, which has an estimated 65 percent of the US search market share, has an even tighter grip in the UK, with an estimated market share between 85 and 90 percent.

But Microsoft seems to be undaunted by that.

In launching Bing It On this week, the company pointed to a recent study of 1,000 British adults which skewed in Bing’s favor:

Despite having used Google’s own top queries, after carrying out 10 searches, 53% of people surveyed picked Bing search results more often, 34% of people picked Google results more often, and 13% of people chose Bing and Google results an equal number of times.

For the stats geeks, the margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level.

Even when you compare it by query, Bing was preferred more often. Out of 10,000 searches carried out, Bing search results were chosen 39% of the time, whilst Google results were chosen 32% of the time and 29% of searches were draws.

Google’s UK Search Share Slipping?

In addition to that study, there are reports dating back to late 2012 that Google’s UK dominance is slipping.

Experian Hitwise UK shared data showing that Google’s UK search share had dropped below 90 percent for the first time in five years.

StatCounter currently reports Google with 88.8 percent of the UK search engine market in September — down from 91.4 percent a year ago. It shows Bing rising from 4.3 percent to 6.7 percent in the same period.


Bing & Google Spar Over Bing It On

Bing vigorously defended the Bing It On campaign last week after a professor questioned Bing’s methods and results.

Google’s Matt Cutts shared the study with his Twitter followers, and in extended comments on Google+, said that Bing It On’s “flaws … were pretty obvious.”

Bing behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert responded via blog comments and eventually wrote an article for the Bing search blog defending the Bing It On challenge.

Ultimately, searchers get to decide every day which search engine they prefer and whether Bing’s results are comparable to Google’s. But it seems to me that Google, by spreading the word about that study, is giving the Bing It On challenge even more publicity and legitimacy.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Microsoft: Bing | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Mike E. Delta

    Yeah, if they weren’t worried, they really wouldn’t need to say anything…truly Google is most definitely on the right path to become the next Microsoft lol =p

  • Chris Koszo

    It don’t like to admit, but Google is light years ahead of Bing. Even the littlest things such as the fonts are irritating on Bing. Why do you think they chose Google’s font and layout for the Bing it on challenge?

    Not to mention the results.. Bing seems to be great for pop culture and U.S.-based news searches (which are the only things that are part of the suggested keyphrases in the challenge, hint hint), but Bing is absolutely garbage for anything long tail, or non-U.S., or technical searches.

    Google even does a pretty good job at delivering results in the same tone, reading level, and complexity that a searcher is looking for. This is what Bing is the worst at..

    For example, (and this is not a rigged search, this is literally the first thing that came to mind as I was writing this and thinking of a technical, international, long-tail search query). So last year I was in Budapest, Hungary and remarked to my friends that there seemed to be a ton of obvious drug use and drug-pushing going on at this nightclub that we happened to be at, called Studio. I figured a search for “budapest studio club drugs” should be a pretty good starting point if someone in the U.S. wanted to find out what exactly was going on there if they had similar experiences.

    Needless to say, Google delivers abundantly for the abovementioned search, with links to specific forum posts with many tourists mentioning the drug use, reviews on travel sites that mention tips on how to be safe and not get caught etc, and even a newspaper article about a drug bust at the club. Now.. Looking at Bing, there is absolutely nothing of value in the results. The first result is a travel agencies index page with not one mention of the word “drug”, the second result is the nightclubs official facebook homepage, the third is a trip advisor page for the club which seems promising, but once again not one mention of what I was looking for. Same for the entire first page.

    The above is just a quick and dirty example, but it’s a practical one. Do the search yourself on Google and look at the first 4 results, then do the same on Bing.

  • Sam Harries

    Bing are getting better, but I still chose Google in every result. Whats worse is that it hides the knowledge graph results, which make Google even more attractive to general users.

  • Durant Imboden

    Bing needs two things more than it needs an advertising campaign:

    1) To achieve parity with Google (or better).

    2) To offer a “unique selling proposition.” This could be a killer feature for everyday search that Google lacks (maybe an easy, any-user-can-do-it way to filter out commercial or informational searches?) or perhaps something as basic as a simple, uncluttered search experience now that Google is committed to Universal Search.

  • treb072410

    Thanks for sharing.. Bing is getting better but Google is still the best!…

  • patti livernash

    My Uncle Sebastian just got a nearly new Honda Civic Hybrid by working part-time off of a home computer. additional resources w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

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