Microsoft is trying a new marketing gambit to get consumers to use its Bing search engine: A blind taste test.
The campaign, called Bing It On, asks users to compare any five search results for Bing and Google side-by-side without knowing which is which, and pick out the results that are the most relevant. Users can do this using BingItOn.com and then find out whether they really prefer Google or Bing. It’s basically the online equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge.
The Bing It On campaign comes on the heels of an independent study of nearly 1,000 Internet users commissioned by Microsoft, which found that people prefer Bing’s search results to Google’s two-to-one in blind comparison tests.
Despite these findings, Bing has been stuck in a distant second place behind Google in the search market. Bing currently has just 15.7% market share, while Google has two-thirds of the market, according to the latest numbers from comScore, though Microsoft’s share jumps to 28.7% if you include Yahoo’s sites, which are powered by Bing.
“We’ve increasingly seen that customers have a tough time breaking their Google habits,” Lisa Gurry, Bing’s senior director, told Mashable. “The use of Google for any search is very habitual, like tapping your foot in a meeting, you don’t really give it a lot of thought. With this campaign, we want to help people realize there is another option for search.”
We reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has tried to battle consumers’ ingrained habits. In February, the company launched a Pepsi Challenge for its Windows Phone that offered side-by-side comparisons to iPhones and Android-based devices. That programhit a glitch the following month when an Android user charged that the competition was rigged. This time around, Microsoft is going all out by promoting the Bing It On campaign during the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday and in Microsoft stores around the country.
Microsoft is also launching a sweepstakes to promote the Bing It On challenge. Anyone who tweets about the campaign using a link found on Bingsweeps.com will be entered to win one of several Microsoft prizes including a Surface tablet, Xbox, Windows phone and more.
While the Bing It On campaign is a fun idea, it could also end up backfiring on Bing. When this reporter took the test, Google won five out of five rounds.