It is the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ of the 21st century. The only problem is, even if the challenge favors Bing more often, like it did Pepsi in the 80′s, there is a major flaw in their logic. I think Bing is under the assumption that if proven in a blind test, web searchers will actually start to change their behavior and choose Bing. Coca-Cola made a similar assumption when people started preferring Pepsi and nearly killed their brand to try to save it. Because, even though people prefer the taste in a blind sip test, that does not necessarily predict behavior. In the real world we don’t actually search for things blindly. That is to suggest that the experience means a lot more than simply the words on the page. Mainly, the power of the Google brand is being severely underestimated as was Coca-Cola.
Current contest explanation:
In the test, participants were shown the main web search results pane of both Bing and Google for 10 search queries of their choice. Bing and Google search results were shown side-by-side on one page for easy comparison – with all branding removed from both search engines. The test did not include ads or content in other parts of the page such as Bing’s Snapshot and Social Search panes and Google’s Knowledge Graph.
In my opinion, sensation transference has a huge impact here. Real or not, people have a strong emotional attachment to Google and the aesthetics and experience associated within. So taking all of that away would obviously have an impact because it is no longer Google. Same thing with Bing. Frankly, I hate Bing for many reasons one of which is actually the relevancy of their results to my search query. Which even in this test I noticed was an issue. While I agree this marketing campaign probably brought some additional recognition to the brand, the actual conversion will be minimal at best.
Blind Apartment Test
With Bing’s logic, we could stick anyone at our apartment communities and they would sell. We all know it takes a lot more than a pretty property or even one that meets all our ‘search criteria’ to get the sale. The experience (sensation transference and all) will make the sale in my book, every day, all day long.
In the blind test I still chose Google. Try for yourself – share your results with us! My advice to Bing is to take the approach that Pepsi did. Instead of trying to take customers from Google, create your own niche. Pepsi went for the younger generation and it worked. Coca-Cola still has more market share but the gap between them is less significant.
Will you change your search behavior based on your results?
(side note, Bing you have terrible apartment search results – thank you Google for including Mills Apartments on page one)