Bing's new “Facebook Friend Effect” search service allows searchers to see what their social connections have Liked, and this seems to be going over well with consumers. Marketers should consider that the positive response to Microsoft's most recent Facebook search integration could help Bing gain ground in the search market.
The update, launched last week, enables all Bing searchers logged into Facebook to see which results their friends have Liked and which results are popular among all Facebook users. As Brafton reported, it also uses Likes as a ranking signal, pushing content that friends recommend up to the first page of results – a development social media marketers should appreciate.
Consumers seem to be enthusiastic about this change. After the company announced the update, several Facebook fans gushed about how much they liked it on the company's Page. Plus, thousands have participated in the search engine's surveys about which type of questions they're most likely to discuss with friends (dating-related queries rank high). While marketers might consider that many of Bing's current users may be among its adoring Facebook fans, the Facebook search feature seems to be drawing attention from new potential searchers as well.
For instance, among the thousands of viewers of Bing's clever Facebook themed video ad for the new search feature, one discerning searcher is trying to decide the value of friends' input and says, “I will Bing about it and decide.”
Similarly, when Mashable reported on Bing's intriguing Facebook Friend Effect ad, many commenters who are admitted Google users expressed that they are very interested in Microsoft's new feature. One says, “I personally use Google, but I might check Bing out just to see this feature…” Another explains that the search giant is currently his default, but he says, “I wish Google had this kind of integration … Bing is making me think again.”
It remains to be seen whether Googlers will go Bing for the new Facebook features, but it's clear that Microsoft is positioning itself to be a real contender in the search market – and SEO marketers may want to optimize their sites accordingly.
The response to Friend Effect-infused search also makes it clear that consumers value social referrals. With this in mind, marketers catering to both Google and Bing audiences should remember to share social content that acts as Like-bait to boost word-of-web advocacy for their brands.