Bing has brought a whole new meaning to the quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In fact, they may change the way search results are displayed on all search engines if their new search “prototype” turns out to be a winner. Recently, at Tech Crunch50, Bing announced the launch of Visual Search (it’s still in beta).
Bing’s Visual search beta actually shows the searcher thumbnail images of certain products or items that they are searching for. When a searcher scrolls over the picture of the item the name of the item appears in the search query. At present, Bing only has a little over 40 categories or galleries as they call them that utilize visual search.
Visual search can be a great help in the decision making process when shopping. Let’s use digital cameras as an example. On Bing Visual Search, when a searcher clicks on digital cameras over 1500 pictures load. The searcher can scroll, in order to see pictures of all the different cameras. If the searcher hovers over a camera (see screen shot below) the name of the camera will appear in the search query box. Once, the searcher finds what they’re looking for they hit enter and regular text results appear.
It may seem overwhelming to view thousands of pictures. However, Bing already thought of that. To the left of the images are “narrow down” options. If a searcher only wants to view cameras by megapixels, optical zoom, brand, etc. Bing can do it. Let’s say a searcher, clicks on the mega pixel option and selects “5 mega pixels”. The cameras rearrange and only 5 mega pixel cameras are displayed in the image results. The Visual Search feature comes to the rescue when a searcher says, “I know what it looks like, but I don’t remember who makes it.” Problem solved.
What about travel destinations? Bing’s Visual Search comes to the rescue again. In fact, Bing will list destination images in alphabetical order and will allow the searcher to narrow down the results.
Visual Search by Bing is definitely an innovative way to search, and if it catches on, it will definitely change the way searches are done. More importantly, it will impact how marketers advertise on Bing. If you want to take Bing Visual Search for a test drive
click here. It does require that you download a program call Silverlight. Bing has tapped into something cool, which has significant implications for the future.
Have you ever gone online to look for a product and all the ads seem the same? Ever wonder which ads will take you the official site, and which ads are going to take you to an unofficial site. How does a company solve this issue? Set yourself apart so people know that your ad copy will lead them to the original product maker and not a reseller.
When a company is advertising its original product online a rule of thumb is to put the trademark symbol in the ad copy line. This lets people know that you’re the real deal. There can be a lot of competition out there for your very own product. A trademark symbol sets you apart. What’s even better is that competitors and resellers shouldn’t be using your trademark symbol in their ad copy which gives you an advantage.
Secondly, if you have space, put “official site” in your ad copy. This also differentiates you from resellers, especially with the new rule Google recently passed. Google has said that resellers are allowed to put trademarked products in their ad copy if they are reselling it on their site with a price point. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re Nike, at one point only Nike could say “Nike” in their ads. Everyone else had to say, “We sell those cool shoes with the check mark sign.” Now, that Google has passed this rule, resellers can now say, “Buy Your Nikes at a great price online.” When resellers start marketing, this way, the words “official site” will let consumers know which ad is truly by Nike.
Last but not least, make sure to monitor your core keywords and stay in top position. Remember, not everyone plays by the rules. If you see ads with “official site” in them that don’t belong to your company, do something about it. Contact the company and ask them to refrain from using deceiving ad copy, because they aren’t the official site. Also, Google will allow you to file a formal complaint against those using deceptive ad copy, if that becomes necessary. The clear rule of thumb is to make it very clear to consumers that your ad copy will lead them to the official site.
The much anticipated search engine merger of the year was announced earlier this week. According to Computer World, and others, Yahoo and Microsoft will officially join forces in the search engine world. According, to PC Pro, Microsoft’s Ballmer says, “The ten-year deal will see Microsoft’s Bing put to work powering Yahoo’s searches. In return, Yahoo will take over selling premium advertising for the two companies, with a revenue-sharing deal in place.” What does this mean for advertisers? There are pro’s and con’s depending on how it pans out.
Let look at the pro’s first. The merger between Yahoo and Microsoft should spur creativity and innovations. Both search engines have experience with search and display advertising; now they can collaborate on new ideas and thoughts on improving search engine advertising options.
Speaking of improvement, it might affect cpc bidding for the better. If Yahoo is going to be reaching more people, then advertisers might start migrating more of their advertising budgets to Yahoo. If that happens, cpc’s in Google could ultimately drop, especially since Google claims that part of ad ranking depends on your competitor’s cpc bid. It would definitely be a win for certain industries that currently have to bid significant dollars in Google for a keyword, in order to get first page ranking.
On the contrary, cpc’s could increase since there will only be two major players competing. It could change to “here’s the cpc price” take it or leave it. This would drive businesses with smaller budgets to look for cheaper ways to advertise online, whether they advertise on more niche search engines or look more seriously at the social media avenues of advertisement.
Time will tell whether this search engine partnership will be a success for all or only for some. I’m hoping it’ll be a success for all, especially for search engine advertisers. It should be interesting to see how Google responds to the Yahoo and Microsoft announcement.