Microsoft Says to Google: Bing It On!
Bing is fast becoming the search alternative to Google that Yahoo isn’t anymore. More so after it got integrated in Facebook. But is Bing good enough to challenge Google in a blind test? More importantly does a blind test really matter?
Customers are irrational. They don’t choose the best product, they choose the best brand. Unlike blind tests (undertaken in controlled environments), customers are not blind while consuming a product in real life situations. They clearly see the brand visuals and get influenced by its reputation (and other associated perceptions). Pepsi learnt it back in the late seventies (through their Pepsi Challenge). Americans preferred Pepsi over Coke in blind tests but the challenge didn’t make much dent over the sales of Coke and Coke still remains the number one cola brand.
Now back to Google and Bing. Bing has recently declared a search war over Google with Bing It On, a search app that allows visitors to use 5 search terms and get the search results (striped off the ads and other value add features) side by side in a single screen. Once you finish the five search test, you will be able to see the winner of the test. The results of the test is also appended by the findings of the blind comparison study conducted for Bing by an independent agency called Answers Research, using a sample size of nearly 1000 Americans of 18 years and above. The result of the tests – Bing won over Google two times to one. And so bolstered by the survey results, Microsoft came up with the Bing It On campaign.
I took the challenge and Google won for me. Perhaps because I can recognize Google results pattern even in blind search or perhaps because Google indeed is better. But regardless of the result I will not stop using Google anytime soon. And that is the power of branding. Once I am convinced that Google gives me the best search results (along with its value added features) it is very hard to change my perception.
Having said that the campaign premise is compelling and if Bing keeps improving itself, it may well become a worthy competitor to Google.