Satya Nadella Keynote At Bing Search Summit

Satya Nadella, SVP of Microsoft’s Online Services Division, gave the morning keynote at the Microsoft Search Summit. It was an introduction to and tour of Bing and adCenter upgrades and improvements. Nadella began with a review of the search market and its growth. He was initially apologetic to the audience about Microsoft’s market share. He proceeded to outline the problems with the current state of search that Bing tries to address.

Nadella said “only 1 in 4 queries deliver successful results.” This is based on Microsoft’s observation of search user behavior from historical Live Search logs and its toolbar installs (where they get visibility on search behavior on other engines). Repeat queries or refinements and abandonments indicate current dissatisfaction or deficiencies of the current state of search.


“In the quest to find the perfect search engine, we still have a lot of room.”

Nadella explains that people engage in long search sessions. Almost 50% of time spent searching is spent during sessions longer than 30 minutes. But those sessions, according to Microsoft, represent only 5% of search sessions overall. He also showed the following consumer data focused on Microsoft’s four strategic verticals.


The slide shows 66% of people are using search more frequently as a decision-making tool; and in their strategic verticals:

  • 75% product purchases
  • 62% Local activity
  • 45% Flight or hotel
  • 43% Healthcare

Nadella explains Bing’s “task orientation” and begins a hands-on walk-through of the site. He shows the homepage and discusses its strong “emotional appeal.”  He says that among consumers it’s one of the most liked features of the site. Then he takes us on a tour of the site and concretely points out the features (e.g., Best Match, Instant Answers) that are designed to minimize clicks and respond to typical user behaviors.


He shows a local search “San Diego Events” and points out a range of information about events but also about San Diego more broadly. He discusses health search and authoritative answers, with health-related content and articles that can be read on the SERP. Nadella goes on to discuss shopping and the range of information that can be obtained on the SERP without having to click away. In general, what these and other examples collectively show is the deeper integration of verticals and related vertical content into the search result (to avoid too many clicks and the back button).


In local Nadella pointed to “one-click directions” from the SERP (showing directions from multiple starting points) as a differentiator.


Overall Nadella gave an impressive presentation. Although I don’t discuss these things, he also spoke about the forthcoming Bing marketing campaign (radio, online, TV). He showed the “Hawaii” commercial, which I thought was funny and effective. He also spoke at some length about adCenter improvements. Those changes will be addressed on this site in coming weeks and months. Nadella ended by soliciting honest feedback.

At the end of the session there were a number of questions, many dealt with social media and Twitter and how Bing was going to address that phenomenon.

Nadella said that he felt passionate about the need to incorporate the social graph with the web graph. He said that Microsoft has a lot of work to do in this area.  He discusses potential re-ranking of results based on one’s social graph. But he also says that many searchers are looking for more comprehensive information than what one’s friends have to say. He argues that the social graph works better in some categories than others (e.g., Local as opposed to Health).

In response to a question about neutrality regarding working with non-Microsoft products, Nadella says that Bing will absolutely have to work with all browsers and platforms. He says that MSN, Bing and Windows Live are three brands that have distinct objectives (presumably Bing will be the neutral or “agnostic” one).

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Features: General | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Stats: General | Stats: Relevancy | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • chiropractic

    Fascinating. Most interesting to me is the 62% of search going to local activity and the 43% to healthcare. I’m in the trenches every day meeting people that do both. They’re doing healthcare research and they are seeking services locally. There is an entire segment of the population (how many in America are uninsured?) that are seeking solutions, and as a result they are meeting face-to-face with local healthcare practitioners, after searching online. Interesting to see how things progress and evolve over the next few years.

  • Rich

    Thanks for the recap Greg. I think Microsoft’s frustration with the current quality of search (only 1/4 successful) is paramount to the idea that Bing’s potential success will only improve search. Not necessarily because Bing is better than Google, but because Bing could provide a solid alternative and therefor significant competitor to Google. With the massive investment Microsoft is making to make gains on Google, and the determination of Google to remain ahead of the pack, search will experience immense improvements. Read more of my opinion on this here.

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