Microsoft has unveiled Mango, the next version of its Windows Phone, and search, social and mobile marketers may be intrigued by some of the phone's new features that make it easier for consumers to find local info and shop on the go. In fact, the phone is designed to provide “smarter and easier communications, apps and internet experiences.”
The phone features a more sophisticated Bing search service. For instance, the company explains that if users are searching for movie titles, Bing will provide movie times and nearby theaters in the results, and it will also surface users' Fandago apps through a new App Connect feature, facilitating a quick ticket purchase.
Marketers may find similar services can boost purchases from their local stores. Take Local Scout – this feature prioritizes hyperlocal results for mobile searchers, recommending the closest shops, restaurants and more. Marketers who add barcodes and QR codes to their storefronts or products will also find that Bing users can photograph these visual markers for instant related Bing Vision results.
Local businesses will also want to get creative about the type of content they offer to site visitors, as it seems Mango search results are part of Bing's effort to move away from 10 linked results. Microsoft explains that, “web content in Mango doesn’t return as a list of blue links the user must comb through. Rather, content is integrated, aggregated and presented in a more useful way.”
Presumably it will also be a more social way. Social local marketing is going to prove key to catching clicks from on-the-go Mango users. Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are now integrated into phone users' contacts so they can see what their friends are sharing on social sites throughout the day. Users can also seamlessly switch back and forth between text messaging, emailing and Facebook messaging contacts.
Plus, marketers shouldn't forget that Bing search results are now powered by Facebook data. As Brafton reported, Likes and Facebook comments can now serve as ranking signals for the personalized results pages Bing users see when they are logged into Facebook.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether consumers will be as excited about these features as marketers may be. Nielsen says that as of March 2011, just 6 percent of consumers planning to get a smartphone in the next year will be buying Windows Phones.