Bing Ads Finds Close To Half Of All Mobile Voice Searches Tied To Local Places

In an overview of Bing Ads’ growth at SMX West, Microsoft’s Christi Olson tells marketers that paid search isn’t just about connecting keywords to website visits, it’s about satisfying consumers’ desire to satisfy several tasks at once.

Turning search keywords into action was the main point Christi Olson, Microsoft Bing Ads Evangelist, sought to drive home to audience members during the company’s presentation at this week’s SMX West.

When someone does a search, they’re not just looking for a landing page, they’re looking to make a restaurant reservation or make a purchase. And as marketers demand a clearer sense of how well their search and display ads are working in concert to drive a particular action, the notion of search advertising as separate from other digital channels is no longer part of the equation.

Olson shared the stage with Eric Couch, Bing Ads’ account manager, and Paul Apodaca, the Microsoft unit’s director of Strategy, who all touched on the added services that have been built into the search engine’s marketing over the past several months.

Among the highlights: last year, Bing’s market share has reached to 20 percent — almost twice of what it commanded just five years before, when it attracted an 11 percent share of all searches.

And in its pitch that advertising on Bing isn’t necessarily duplicative of what happens on Google, Olson noted that 12 percent of search queries contain phrases that have not appeared on that dominant platform.

Overall, it goes to Olson’s case that marketers need to have a full range of channels acting on their behalf if they expect to drive real world outcomes and sales.

GeoMarketing: In your presentation, you said, “Paid search is no longer just about keywords.” What was the broader message to marketers in that statement?

Christi Olson: Paid search is advancing beyond just figuring out the best keywords to drive traffic to your site. It’s looking more broadly at the intersection of keywords and audiences. It’s thinking about user intent, it’s thinking about what is a consumer trying to do in that backend, and while keywords are a part of that, it’s no longer just the words and phrases that you choose.

The question that search marketers need to be asking is, “How do you set up and layer different audiences so that you can identify who’s been to your site and who hasn’t. How do you target them at different points and times?”

How else is the practice of search marketing advancing for businesses?

Search is really about thinking through the actions a consumer might take. The message is to make sure that you understand what consumers want to do. From there, you have to actually focusing on that “in action standpoint.”

To take an even broader perspective, paid search is a small component of your overall marketing advertising mix. And if you’re not on paid social, if you’re not thinking about how it fits into your integrated overall strategy, all the concentration you’re putting into search will have limited results.

Paid search has to be part of an integrated program, right?

Yes. There are no more silos and you can’t think of search as a standalone function. One of the things I’d say on the audience’s standpoint is, there’s so much information. There’s such a wealth of information available to marketers with paid social through Facebook and other channels. All the targeting capabilities through programmatic display has pointed the way. We have a lot of learn as paid search experts from our counterparts in display and our counterparts in social.

As a search marketer, I need to know several things that are being done on the other channels: to start, how they’re targeting those audiences and how they’re tagging them. I need to understand all the drivers contributing to individual audiences coming into the website so that I can leverage those visits from a paid search perspective.

The point is that if you already know who the audience coming to your site is because you’re hitting them on programmatic display, you’re targeting them on Facebook, you can tag those users and start to create audiences from paid search to remarket to them. From there, you can create paid search campaigns to target those users and engage and interact with them, because you already know that they’ve heard of your brand.

Looking deeper at how search marketing has evolved, you’ve found that a voice search through [Microsoft’s personal digital assistant] Cortana or Apple’s Siri suggests the user is more likely to be looking for a local business or location. Why is that?

We look at voice search and examine queries that people are doing on their mobile devices and/or just through the voice search like Cortana and Siri. We’re seeing that there’s a significant local component to them. Of individuals searching through voice on the mobile web, roughly 40 percent had a local element to what they were trying to get to.

They’re trying to find something place-based: “Get me to this location. Where do I find this? How do I get there? What is a local restaurant in this area?”

Local search is at a huge point right now in terms of where mobile and voice helping drive mobile search so it’s really important for advertisers to understand that. Making sure that they’re aware so that you can target that.

Spiez, Switzerland
Spiez, Switzerland

As location fills an important aspect of voice search results and targeting, have we discovered a distinct SEO role for beacons to play, as more companies explore retargeting mobile consumers after leaving a physical store, a movie theater, or a sports venue?

I’m very interested in the potential beacons have as an SEO tool. From a paid search standpoint, it would be great to see how quickly I can target an in-store location to say people coming into the physical place and separate that from other types of campaigns.

From an SEO standpoint, incorporating beacons is definitely futuristic and down the road at this point.

And now, on a more personal note: What’s your favorite location and why?

This may sound bizarre, but my favorite place in the world just happens to be Spiez, Switzerland.

I was an exchange student there through high school and I’m actually heading back in the next two weeks. It’s a quaint little town in the Alps. It’s just tiny. It’s got a beautiful backdrop on the lake and I love to just relax. It takes you back to a time when you’re not so connected that you can enjoy and slow down your pace and sip your coffee while strolling along the waterfront and looking at castles built in the 1700’s. How could you not go wrong with that place?

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.