The Inside Scoop: Microsoft/Bing Roundtable, Powered by ReachLocal

If you haven’t already heard, we had the pleasure of hosting a Microsoft Bing Roundtable Session for an exclusive group of ReachLocal business partners at our Sydney Headquarters last week. While you can read more about the event here, I’m sure you’re keen to learn about the key insights and details that were discussed with Rik van der Kooi.

Rik van der Kooi (Corporate VP Microsoft Search Advertising, Seattle USA) took our guests and team through the following topics:

Growing Success of Microsoft Bing Ads in Australia

Rik explained that Australia is one of Microsoft Bing’s top five global priority markets and Bing Ads have grown significantly, now accounting for 14% of Australia’s search market share. While this may seem small, this has doubled in the last two years. Windows 10 has been a key driver of this growth. The deep integration of Bing in Windows 10 means that more users are performing more searches using the Bing search engine. Rik was confident that there was a significant opportunity to continue growing due to the high number of Windows users across the globe. His goal is for Bing to obtain 20% of Australia’s search market share in two years’ time.

The Way Forward for Bing

“It’s not just about Windows 10, it is also making sure that people use Bing”. Rik spoke about how Bing was currently retaining 85% of users for 18 months and longer. While this was a significant improvement there were three areas of focus moving forward.

Firstly, with a big push towards mobile there lies a huge opportunity to strengthen Bing’s mobile platform. To do this, Rik spoke about leveraging Microsoft’s own services such as integrating search into LinkedIn, Skype and Outlook.com, encouraging users to engage with the Bing search engine on these platforms. This would result in building a stronger presence on both IOS and Android.

Secondly, offering a competitive and effective proposition for partners would continue to be an important focus. Partners, such as ReachLocal, provide high quality service, technology and online marketing expertise to clients so that they achieve the best results with Bing Ads.

Finally, the third focus was thinking ahead about how people would change the way they searched. He mentioned the expected growth of voice search and digital assistant, giving an overview of Cortana virtual assistant which is a dramatically differentiated high quality product that “would truly work for you to answer complex questions.”

Future of Search

Throughout the roundtable discussion, there was an eagerness to hear Rik’s thoughts on the future of search advertising. He outlined that currently complex and valuable search queries such as buying a car or booking a holiday were occurring on PC platforms. There would however, be a dramatic shift with search moving towards natural language and more people talking to their devices.

AI would play an important role in driving what Rik referred to as “conversational commerce” which would be used to build closer connections between customers and their search experience. This opportunity would require a strong relationship of trust as well as a deeper understanding of who the user really was through their signals, intent, data and profile to deliver more relevant messages.

According to Rik – “the future will not be driven by four blue links but rather one answer to your question. That is the holy grail of where search is going – machine learning and natural language.”

We’d like to thank Rik for taking the time to talk us through Microsoft Bing’s insightful plans for the Asia-Pacific markets, as well as all of our partners who attended the event! If you would like to learn more about the ReachLocal Partner Program call us on 02 8197 5792.

Nishtha Handa

Nishtha is the Content Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. She has experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation for small and medium businesses. She specialises in guiding businesses to improve their social media and digital marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing or researching the latest digital tips and trends, she's planning her next holiday destination, baking a cake or binge watching Netflix.

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