Microsoft ploughs $100m into trumpeting Bing search

LONDON - Microsoft is planning a large-scale advertising push for its new search engine, rumoured to be called Bing, as the company tries to lure web users away from defaulting to Google as their main search tool.

According to AdAge, Microsoft has developed a $100m advertising campaign for Bing, created by JWT, which will canvas the web, TV, print and radio following the search engine's public debut at the 'D: All Things Digital' conference in California this week.

Microsoft UK refused to comment on the report or reveal when and whether the ads will be shown in the UK.

WPP-owned JWT won Microsoft's global B2B account last summer, taking it from incumbent McCann Erickson.

The campaign will not target rivals Google or Yahoo! specifically, but will appeal to web users to rethink the way they search, asking whether the "other" search engines really solve their problems.

The campaign is based on Microsoft's research. It revealed 42% of consumer searches required refinement and that 25% of clicks are the back button. The same data also revealed 65% of web users are satisfied with their current search engine.

Bing, which had been operating under the name Kumo during in-house trials, uses a unique interface which, Microsoft hopes, allows users to find what they are looking for on the first try.

When searching Bing, say for an Audi S8, a set of separate tabs on the left hand side of the page will offer related categories, such as for parts, used cars, accessories and sales, while a search for musicians, such as Taylor Swift, brings tags such as songs, lyrics, biography and albums.

Microsoft currently sits third in the US search market with an 8% share, following Yahoo! (20%) and Google (64%), according to ComScore.

Whether Microsoft's product is better than Google's or Yahoo!'s is irrelevant, say analysts, and the company's biggest hurdle will be to steer users away from the Google brand.

According to Ad Age, Google conducted an internal survey which revealed users preferred search engines with the Google logo plastered on top, regardless of the search results shown.

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