Microsoft Bing Shows No Increase in Ad Spending

Microsoft Bing, the company's new search engine, has not increased Microsoft's share of the U.S. paid search advertising market, according to a report by SearchIgnite. Bing saw its share of the U.S. search market grow during its first month of release, buoyed by a massive ad campaign and a good deal of media attention, as Microsoft seeks to compete more aggressively against Google and Yahoo in the search-engine arena.

Microsoft's Bing search engine may have gained users during its first few weeks of release, but a July 14 report by research company SearchIgnite found that Microsoft's share of the U.S. paid search advertising market remained stagnant for the quarter.

Microsoft's share of the paid search advertising market in the second quarter of 2009 remained at just under 6 percent, roughly the same position as before the launch of Bing.

By comparison, Google had 77 percent of the U.S. market's paid search spend in the second quarter of 2009, while Yahoo's own share reached 17 percent. Year-over-year, Yahoo's paid search spend declined 26 percent, much of it lost to Google.

In addition to providing traditional search, Bing also provides a series of tabs on its main page that allow for more granular searches of categories such as "Shopping" or "Images."

SearchIgnite tracked "more than 40 billion impressions and 800 million clicks on Google, Yahoo and MSN/Bing from January 1, 2006 through June 30, 2009 across more than 500 marketers," according to the accompanying report.

Although Bing showed no increase in its paid search spending, SearchIgnite suggested it was still early in the game.

"Microsoft appears to be focusing its efforts on driving consumer interest and capturing increased search query share," Roger Barnette, president of SearchIgnite, said in a July 14 statement. "We have not yet seen this translate into more paid search advertising dollars for Microsoft, although typically consumer adoption precedes advertiser adoption."

Since its release in June, Bing has demonstrated a certain rate of consumer adoption.

According to a study by research company Hitwise, Bing had grown to occupy some 5.25 percent of the U.S. online search market in the four weeks ending June 27, growing at an average rate of 25 percent but still lagging far behind Google and Yahoo, which had 74 percent and 16.2 percent of the market, respectively.

Further data from comScore, released on July 15, showed that Bing occupied 8.4 percent of the U.S. search engine market in June 2009. Microsoft's slight boost, the report suggested, came wholly at the expense of Yahoo, while Google's market share stayed stable at 65 percent.

During a keynote speech and Q&A session at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans on July 14, CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that Bing, despite its relatively small market share, had managed to build some momentum in the marketplace.

"Man, oh man, have we taken a lot of abuse, and we're still just an itsy-bitsy part of the market, but we have a bit of mojo," Ballmer said from the stage, adding that Bing is "as good a view of our tenacity and commitment as anything you've ever seen."

As part of that commitment, Microsoft has been pushing Bing with a massive ad campaign estimated at between $80 million and $100 million.