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.
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.