For many years now Google has been the powerhouse of search. When you wanted to find something you would go to Google, type in your query and more often than not it would find you a seemingly endless amount of results related to your search. However, things are changing.
A recent BBC article has highlighted reasons why Google may no longer be the seach engine to use. The article said that “Modern search technologies can help because they are much better at handling different sorts of data and extracting useful information from them - it's rarely just about that big bag of words.” The ‘bag of words’ to which the author refers is the vast number of website pages that Google has indexed; previously presented as the font of all knowledge, this online encyclopaedic vault is increasingly seen as just one of many sources of information available to tech-savvy researchers.
Furthermore, people have begun to get annoyed by Google, and may be looking at alternative search engine technologies, such as Bing, Yahoo and newly emerging players such as privacy-guarding Duck Duck Go and eco-friendly alternative Ecosia.
One reason why people may be angered by Google, is due to this money-hoarding behemoth’s tax avoidance, highlighted at the start of this year where it was reported that they had moved some $23 billion in profits to a Bermuda tax haven in 2017, an increase of $4bn from 2016. It was also reported that they had been exploiting a loophole in the EU tax system for years.
Is it possible that Google’s failure to adapt to changing search habits - as well as its well-publicised unsavoury financial practices – will lead to people looking for alternative search providers?
It is possible but a major change in internet searching habits is unlikely to take place over night. Internet users are as wedded to Google as geography teachers are to open-toe sandals.
However, while still not a huge percentage of your available audience, the minority of users to be found using other search engines - like for example Bing – could well prove receptive to an advertising campaign. It may well be the case that (say) 10% of a pay-per-click budget, diverted from Google Ads into Bing Ads, will provide a higher incremental return than it would otherwise have produced.
The reasons why Bing Ads may punch above their weight are:
- Attractive Audience Demographics: When someone purchases a windows PC, Microsoft Edge is the default browser, meaning that Bing is the default search engine. This presents Bing as an early means of reaching those people with your ads.
- Higher Click Through Rates (CTR): Bing searchers have higher click-through rates. This means that Bing users are more likely to click on the ads than searchers using other search engines
- A Lower Cost Per Click (CPC): When compared to other search advertising options, on average, Bing has shown a trend of having lower CPC for similar keywords.
Google is still the dominant force in pay-per-click advertising and search engine market share. Nonetheless, its position at the top faces ever more challenges and as end users adopt emerging technologies, the internet marketer’s map might change even more.
It is of course still important to advertise through Google but it may well also be time to look at diversifying your pay-per-click portfolio.