Study: Bing.com Advertising FalseWritten by Michael Levanduski
October 3, 2013 # 12:05 pm # Industry News, Marketing Insights, Specials # 3 Comments
According to a study done by Freakonomics.com, the claims in the large-scale marketing campaign run by Bing.com saying “people prefer Bing over Google nearly 2:1” are misleading, if not outright false. Microsoft’s search engine, “Bing” has been running a campaign known as “Bing-It-On” for over a year now. In the campaign they challenge people to go to their website (bingiton.com) and perform 5 searches. Rather than getting normal results, the page displays the search results from bing on one side, and Google on the other (randomly selected). The searcher picks which results they like better, and after 5 searches the site lets them know whether they prefer Google or Bing.
The deception comes when the Bing ads claim that people have chosen Bing nearly 2:1 over Google. This implies that this is based on the results of the over 5 million people who have taken the Bing-It-On challenge, but that is not actually the case. The study they cite is actually of only 1000 participants, which is an extremely small number for this type of thing. In addition, it seems Bing has cherry picked the types of searches which were used in their 1000 member survey.
Freakonomics ran a series of tests to try to find out whether or not Bing’s claims were plausible. They teamed up with some Yale Law students and created another test using Microsoft’s BingItOn.com site. In their study, they found that 53% of those that took the challenge preferred Google, 41% Bing and 6% tied. This is a far stretch from Bing’s claims.
They continued to run the study, asking people to either pick their own keywords to search for, use the Bing suggested keywords, or choose from some of the web’s most commonly searched keywords. When Bing-Suggested keywords were searched, the results came up with 48% preferring Google, 47% Bing and 5% had a tie. When using their own keywords or the web’s most popular, 55-57% choose Google, and 35-39% picked Bing. Again, nowhere near Bing’s claims.
Freakonomics (and myself) are having a hard time figuring out how Bing could have gotten the nearly 2:1 results they are advertising without manipulating the data in some major way. Whether Google could sue Bing for false advertising or now is up for discussion, but they certainly have a great opportunity for running an ad campaign of their own showing the deception of Bing. If, that is, they are worried enough about the success of Bing to even care about this poorly run study from Bing.
You can see more about this study HERE.