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Bing Users' Click-Through Rate 55% Higher Than Google Users' 268

Posted by timothy
from the hey-now-I-like-that-ads-subsidize-stuff dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Techcrunch is running a story that shows some pretty significant differences in the clicking habits of users of Yahoo, Google, and Bing. As it turns out, folks who arrive at websites via Bing are 55% more likely to click on an ad than if they arrived from Google (data based on the Chitika network). Essentially, people who use Bing are far more susceptible to advertising. Bing has acquired a decent market share in such a short time, but could it just be that they've reaped the low hanging fruit of those particularly persuaded by advertising? When their huge marketing campaign winds down, what kind of staying power will it have?"
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Bing Users' Click-Through Rate 55% Higher Than Google Users'

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  • What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:32PM (#28828525)

    Who would have thought that people who would switch to an inferior search engine based on an aggressive marketing campaign would be more susceptible to advertising?

    • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:39PM (#28828575)

      The story is pretty clear that, even with bing's higher click-thru rate, The Google still gets your ad about 13 times as many impressions. Though, not knowing the pricing structures both companies use for ads, I could not tell you the proper return on advertising for both services.

      (Note also that, after the initial bump, Bing has once again fallen behind Yahoo.)

      • Re:What a surprise (Score:4, Informative)

        by michaelhood (667393) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @07:43PM (#28831719)

        Ads placed on Google and Bing's search result pages are, at the present, wholly billed on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis.

        So one could conject that ROI may be a lot higher at Bing right now because of lack of competition (CPC is generally a loosely auction-driven model), but the volume to sustain your business is still at Google.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The use of Bing COULD be boosted by IE 8 choosing that by default. How many users install software defaults?

      As for clicking on ads, there are lots of potential reasons, including the ones mentioned here. But of course, since it's a "decision engine" people are more likely to follow that decision. ;-)

      • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:15PM (#28828873)

        The use of Bing COULD be boosted by IE 8 choosing that by default. How many users install software defaults?

        As for clicking on ads, there are lots of potential reasons, including the ones mentioned here. But of course, since it's a "decision engine" people are more likely to follow that decision. ;-)

        I would be very surprised if there were not a strong correlation between users who don't customize their settings and users who more frequently respond to advertising the way that the advertisers want them to.

        That's because defaults are intended to be applied to millions of users and therefore cannot be ideal for all users or even very many of them. At least, I'll say that the number of people who use all-default settings is far greater than the number of users for whom this is ideal. The greater the number of options which can be customized, the more true this is. Someone who has an "ideal" in mind for how their setup should be and is willing to undergo at least some minor effort to arrange it is more likely to be a more independent thinker, reducing the susceptibility to external suggestion such as advertising.

        • That's because defaults are intended to be applied to millions of users and therefore cannot be ideal for all users or even very many of them.

          Sure it can. Most people prefer Google, so the default in every browser should be Google.

          It's a 100% logical way of satisfying the vast majority of users. You'll just have trouble getting Microsoft onboard with it.

          • by causality (777677)

            That's because defaults are intended to be applied to millions of users and therefore cannot be ideal for all users or even very many of them.

            Sure it can. Most people prefer Google, so the default in every browser should be Google.

            It's a 100% logical way of satisfying the vast majority of users. You'll just have trouble getting Microsoft onboard with it.

            Context is important and you're responding to that out of context. That's kind of important when you are seeking to refute what I was saying :-). The discussion was about IE 8 and its default settings. This pertains to the idea of default settings in general (that is, every user-configurable option in IE) and why someone would not customize or at least review them. The search engine it is configured to use is only one such configurable option among many. So, you may have a point about the use of Google

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Something just bothers me about the "decision engine" thing. I'd like to think people are smart enough to make their own decisions and not follow whatever their search engine tells them to do, but for some reason I doubt that is the case. I think the major reason people click on more adds when using Bing is that those of us who Google already have some idea of what we are looking for, those of us who use Bing are looking for someone or something to make those choices for us. As for me, even if Bing was the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by causality (777677)

          Something just bothers me about the "decision engine" thing. I'd like to think people are smart enough to make their own decisions and not follow whatever their search engine tells them to do, but for some reason I doubt that is the case. I think the major reason people click on more adds when using Bing is that those of us who Google already have some idea of what we are looking for, those of us who use Bing are looking for someone or something to make those choices for us. As for me, even if Bing was the best search engine ever invented, it gives me a bloody headache to look at it.

          Yeah, I don't like it either and it's easy to deconstruct. When you don't really value and cherish freedom, you necessarily also don't value relative independence and self-sufficiency. When you don't have such firm and truly worthy principles, then you must resort to viewing everything in terms of whether or not it is immediately convenient. That means you view any independent problem-solving or decision-making as a burden or a price of admission for getting what you want, instead of viewing it as a way

  • by Utopia Tree (1040146) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:33PM (#28828529)
    to be able to say our users are sheep
  • The reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:33PM (#28828531) Journal

    It's because users of Microsoft services are more stupid than the general population. There, I said it!

    • To an earlier story, perhaps? [slashdot.org]

      I'm just sayin'... Bein' No.1 pr0n browser has its advantages...

    • It's because users of Microsoft services are more stupid than the general population. There, I said it!

      and won another unearned mod-up to +5, Informative. Like I said, big whoop.

      Microsoft's customers are the general population.

      Google - and the Moz Foundation - are built on revenues from the add-click.

      The more impressive the return from Bing the more advertising dollars move to Bing - and to Microsoft's other online services.

    • by Ost99 (101831)

      Having actually used Bing I think the click through rate has more to do with the accuracy of the links given by bing than the stupidity of the users. After the 10th useless link the mind starts to wander, and the adverts start to look like a better source of information compared to returning to bing for yet another try.

      I've not yet made a search with Bing that actually returned anything useful, unless you count the adsense adverts on the page you land on.

  • by Darth_brooks (180756) * <clipper377&gmail,com> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:35PM (#28828553) Homepage

    I make a habit out of checking out the awstats for our domain, and noticed something kinda odd. Bing very quickly became our top referring site. This might just be awstats not treating bing as a search engine (and categorizing hits from them accordingly) or it could be Bing doing something fishy.

    Anyone else see something like this?

  • by NitroWolf (72977) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#28828557)

    Umm? I don't suppose this statistic is anyway affected by the fact that maybe they (Microsoft) give UP TO 35 FREAKING % cashback on items?

    I mean... of course you're going to get a higher click through rate when you're offering a 35% discount for clicking through on Bing vs clicking through on Google.

    I've gotten close to $1000 back for using Live search aka Bing. Of course I check there first... if I find an ad with the Microsoft cashback option, you better believe I snap it up. Then I go back to Google to do my real searching.

    This statistic is completely meaningless since it's blatantly obvious that people are going to use a service that GIVES THEM MONEY vs a service that is just plain free. Gee, imagine that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by colganc (581174)
      If cashback is something they keep around for two years or more I consider it as part of the search engine. At two years or more it must be part of their business model.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skreems (598317)
        Cashback isn't going anywhere. It's a permanent feature. The goal, of course, is that you don't go back to Google when they don't offer up a carrot, because you've found that the whole thing is worth using. As long as they keep paying out on Cashback, they'll have a set of people ready and waiting to notice when they actually fix the product as a whole. Not that I think that will happen anytime soon.
      • by MikeURL (890801)
        Wrong. MS has enough cash to fund a loser indefinitely. As a shareholder this pisses me off and I just want them to be a well-behaved cash cow and pay me that money in dividends.

        Chasing Google RIGHT NOW is like trying to run down Michael Johnson at his peak...it was impossible.
    • by ChronoFish (948067) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:56PM (#28828735) Journal

      Who said you can't beat free?

    • by Etherized (1038092) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:01PM (#28828779)

      I hear you. I'll often find products using google or deal sites, then go through bing just for the cash back - it would be really silly if that sort of usage counted as a bing success story.

      TFA doesn't specify whether this sort of usage is included in the comparison.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by carpe_noctem (457178)

      ...and I suppose a guy with a link in his sig for "get paid to take surveys online" would know a bit about this subject, no?

    • *Bing* You've hit the nail on the head!
  • Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theorem4 (1101729) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:37PM (#28828563)
    Would that click through rate include the ads for Cashback? If so, I might consider the results skewed.
  • S.O.P. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:40PM (#28828581)
    With anything that has been marketed/hyped, never rely on the initial numbers.
    Ignore the first month of a search engine, and the first week of a new movie.
    After the curious and easily manipulated are out of the way, you can get a real result.
  • If you can quickly gather a user base of easily influenced people, there is nothing stopping a competitor from doing the same thing and taking those people back. I suspect Google and other engines lost a bunch of these sorts of people due to Bing's ad campaign. And they are now seeing the benefits of there marketing.
    What we all want for our businesses are those die hard regular customers that love us so much that they will be with us until the end of time. I think Google has quite a few of those people. And

  • Bing has pretty much cornered the market of people who use the internet by typing natural language questions into the IE address bar.

    Imagine that for a moment... people who use the internet by clicking on the IE address bar and typing "How do I get rich working from home?" So it's really no question why they have the fantastic click-through.

    I'd say the data makes perfect sense.

    But that's not to say Bing isn't a pretty nice search engine. I use its video search and (occasionally) restrict it to youtube to us

  • by oneandoneis2 (777721) * on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:56PM (#28828743) Homepage

    I've noticed a *lot* of Bing referrals in my access stats lately.

    Almost all of them have, rather bizzarely, been one-word search strings. Here's my bing searches from the current first screen of my access stats, I swear this is genuine:

      - keyboard
      - gahhh
      - really
      - email
      - comment
      - worked
      - image

    So of the last 20 referrals to me, 7 have come from bing. That's impressive. All seven have clearly been done by people with zero ability to use search engines effectively.

    I've tried bing out and found it to be lousy at finding what I'm looking for. I've also got huge amounts of crud like the above filling up my referral logs. I'm seriously considering blocking referrals from bing.com just to stop it clogging up my stats.

    Do I think Google should be worried? Not yet, no..

    • Did you check if those search results actually have your pages in the results? I have one bot that really likes crawling Game! [wittyrpg.com]'s forums, and it always claims a referrer of Bing (and Live search before there was Bing) with a single word search term ("joined", "forum", "quest", etc). After finding that none of those searches would actually lead to me, I noticed that the IP ranges for this bot (65.55.107.0/24, 65.55.108.0/24, and 65.55.110.0/24) were almost the same as msnbot (65.55.208.0/24), in fact, many of

    • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @03:19PM (#28829457)

      Funny you mention that, here's my results (and our server is VERY heavily hit):

      • eclug
      • INSTALATION
      • linux
      • meeting
      • message
      • printing
      • services
      • terrorism

      Only the first (eclug) and last (terrorism) are really directly relevant to topics on sites I host. Compare that with some Google search results:

      • cool
      • copy
      • desktop
      • gnu
      • html
      • LinkPilot
      • mobile
      • palm
      • pilot
      • plucker
      • Plucker
      • pluker
      • restore
      • rss
      • sony
      • students
      • surf
      • windows
      • wxcmdlineparser

      90% of the search queries by Google users are directly relevant. bing.com is just throwing random garbage around, it seems.

  • Bing l10n.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:58PM (#28828753)

    I'm in a Germany and my browser language preference is set to English (because I prefer it).

    Now most sites (including Google) manage to get my geo-location and annoy me with a German start page (ignoring my language preferences). (At least I could set my prefs. at google, but its bothering to do this for every site I visit).

    Now visiting Bing gave me something unusual: a hybrid l10n. The controls were partly in English and the search suggestions (random stuff at the button of the screen) came in German. Searching for something gave only German results.

    And there I thought it couldn't get worse than it is already.. but this irks the hell out of me.

    ps. And the scaling of mostly everything was messed up too.. Way to go if you want to convince technical folks, Microsoft..

    • Re:Bing l10n.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:19PM (#28828895)

      Set your Google link to "http://www.google.com/ncr" and you will get the default English page no matter what prefs you set or where you are.

      • by henni16 (586412)
        Doesn't work for me.
        That URL still forwards to google.de when I'm using a German IP address.
  • /Proceeds to search 'Microsoft' in Google and clicking on random ads.

    On that note, can I really trust Bing to give me faithful results for Linux queries? Who knows.....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:04PM (#28828795)

    It's the type of story summary used here that shows early signs of the disease Linus was talking about. What kind of lowlife asshole uses a phrase like:

    reaped the low hanging fruit of those particularly persuaded by advertising

    It's advertising, dickhead. If people like what is being advertised they will click the link, watch the commercial, and buy the product. Why is someone who investigates an advertisement deemed less intelligent? Does not fast forwarding through a commercial make you a moron? Does leafing through the Sunday morning circular make you a fool? Ohh, that's right, they are using a Microsoft service. Tee hee. So witty, so funny.

    I used to really like Slashdot, but the quality of the submissions is really taking an ugly tone. Who do we blame? The people writing the submission? Or the person who allows it to be post. This isn't even a Kdawson story so we can't blame him. Slashdot doesn't seem to have any commitment to making sure summaries are well written and free from juvenile bias.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)

      I used to really like Slashdot, but the quality of the submissions is really taking an ugly tone. Who do we blame?

      I think it comes down to a hard, bitter core of envy and frustration.

      Windows runs everything of interest in FOSS. It offers the user an enormous, rock-solid back list of commercial software.

      Freeware and shareware are still viable on the PC platform - think of the success of programs like SolSuite on Download.com.

      Windows is the smorgasbord. The bazaar.

      That's the only meaning of software freedo

  • by liquiddark (719647) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:11PM (#28828845)
    The susceptibility of users is one possibility, of course, but so are
    1) better product (see the comments regarding Cashback ads)
    2) better placement
    3) better advertising clients (ever seen an interesting google ad but hesitated to click because of the shady domain?)
    • by oncehour (744756)
      Do you really believe that Bing will be any different once it can drive targeted traffic? Shady internet sites are here to stay, sadly. They're the late night infomercial of the Internet. You can thank Clickbank.com for that.
      • That's not what he was talking about, though. He was suggesting alternative reasons why Bing had a better clickthrough rate.
    • The susceptibility of users is one possibility, of course, but so are

      1) better product (see the comments regarding Cashback ads)

      2) better placement

      3) better advertising clients (ever seen an interesting google ad but hesitated to click because of the shady domain?)

      the other possibility could be "parent post is a paid microsoft astroturfer"

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:41PM (#28829059) Homepage

    If you sign up for Microsoft Live Cashback, you can use Bing search to get discounts on stuff you buy.

    In effect, Microsoft is bribing the general public to use their search engine. This is not designed to be profitable or sustainable. Of course, I'm sure Microsoft doesn't care, as long as it hurts Google's biggest revenue stream.

    I use Bing to "search" for something that I already know I want to buy, and then click on the Cashback link to get anywhere from 2-30% off on my purchase.

    This isn't really "searching" the internet. It's jumping through hoops to get a discount. I'd buy the thing anyway whether it was advertised or not, whether I'd get a discount or not. Since the discount's available, I take advantage of it.

    Of course, advertisers don't actually care about people searching the internet the real way. They care about people buying stuff from them. If they believe that Bing users are more likely to buy than Google users, they'll probably put a lot of advertising money up at Bing. I actually block advertising in both search results, but I turn it off temporarily if I want to make a Cashback purchase.

    Aside from a few accidental uses, and a few test searches to see how the results compared with I *never* use Bing when searching for any kind of information if I'm just doing a general web search, I use google's search engine. I don't know that Bing search results are any better or worse than Google's, but I'm comfortable using Google and I know that I'll usually find what I'm looking for pretty easily once I find the right query terms to enter.

  • According to this study, it turns out that people who are highly susceptible to browser advertising are also highly susceptible to other advertising.
  • A pretty large fraction of people who search are ultimately searching in order to help with a purchasing decision. If Bing is doing a better job of sending them to relevant sites, then we'd expect them to be more likely to click ads on those sites, as those ads are likely to actually be useful to the searcher.

    • Yes, it could certainly mean that. It's a perfectly valid explanation!

      For the searches I've tried through Bing, it seems on par with Google.

      I'm amazed that nearly all the posters seem to think that Bing users are stupid victims of a marketing campaign, or that Microsoft is up to something fishy with spurious click-throughs. I realize this is slashdot, and Google can do no wrong here, but perhaps, just perhaps Bing doesn't suck.

  • ...as microdoft is well known for biasing what they sell.

    It shows that they are indeed forst and foremost a marketing company....

  • Great news for me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spywhere (824072) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @05:11PM (#28830559)
    One of my (newest) customers had a problem with IE opening a .aspx file from his bank's Web site.

    Vista offered to look for a program on the Web... it used Bing to seek a solution... and the "sponsored link" he clecked was malware.

    Bottom line: Bing gave me a $90 cleanup job.
  • So, targeting nursing homes and grades schools worked for Microsoft and now it's being shown that MS BING users are more likely to click on ads. What a surprise. For another surprise then, watch how many of MS BING customer's computers are infected and also have key loggers running.

    I have to wonder just how much all these kinds of reports on how great BING is going is costing Microsoft.

    LoB
  • by Helldesk Hound (981604) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @08:56PM (#28832167) Homepage

    This data appears to be provided from one business only - Chitika, presumably from data that they gathered from their advertizing.

    Has it been audited with a view to confirming that the click throughs are indeed actually happening?

    Has that data been compared with data from all the many other advertizing businesses that spam websites via Search Engines?

    To what extent is Chitika's advertizing only based on Microsoft Bing and not on the other search engines? :o)

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