Just a few days after Facebook unveiled Graph Search, its new Bing-powered product which uses ‘Likes’ to create a personalised social search experience, Bing announced that it willnow incorporate 5x more social content from Facebook into its own search results. This is just good co-marketing right? Maybe, but let’s take a look at the changes Bing have made and why you should care about them.
What Has Changed?
As you may know, this isn’t the first time Bing has dipped its toe into the world of social search. In fact, it has been incorporating Facebook data such as photos, likes and profile info into its search results since June 2012. Now, though, there’s more, 5x more to be exact, with status updates, shared links and comments all showing up in the far right sidebar of the newly revamped three column search results page when you connect your Facebook account.
So if you search, for example, for “Brisbane restaurants”, the organic search results will appear on the left, Pay Per Click results in the centre and Facebook social search results on the right, which could include relevant comments, photos and status updates from people you know about restaurants in Brisbane. These social results can also include data from other social media sites such as Twitter, Quora and Foursquare, but it is Facebook results that Bing seems to be featuring most prominently. The new design allows users to quickly see content labeled as “social results,” without the previous need to hover over a friend’s avatar to view additional content. They can also access even more social data by clicking on the “+ see all” icon at the bottom of the column.
Why You Should Care?
Although Bing may not be your first port of call when you’re searching for something online, for a growing number of people, it is. In fact, Bing is doing better than ever, with a 16%market share of search, (second, or course to Google at 66.9%) as of October 2012. And then there’s the positive results of its Bing It On Challenge, a blind comparison test that revealed that people preferred Bing’s search results over Google’s by nearly 2:1, and that 33% of Google users said they would use Bing more often after the challenge.
In short, there is a decent portion of users – many of whom are potential guests- that are making their searches using Bing. And now that Facebook content is featuring so prominently in search results, you can’t afford to miss out. As the major search engines keep evolving to incorporate more and more personalised social data, it’s more important than ever that your hotel has an active presence on Facebook. And this means not only engaging with your fans regularly, but creating the kind of content that people naturally what to share with others - which will then appear in their friends and friends of friends search results.