Bing’s Small and Powerful Social Media Marketing Move – Facebook “Like” Button Now on Home Page
In a progressive and highly tactical move, Bing has added a small and significant Social feature to their home page: the Facebook “Like” button.
Bing is the first search engine to add the Like feature to their home page. In truth this is probably not even something that Google could do as they do not have any featured daily or consistently changing content that an audience would engage with. However, since Google and Bing have repeatedly tried to mimic the others features, it would not surprise me if Google did copy this implementation and use it for their occasional holiday and event homepage doodle logos.
Why is this Significant?
Reach. Since Facebook passed Google to become the most visited site of 2010, this is a smart move to connect with the webs largest audience where they spend most of their time. We see the same social tactics from most other websites, so why not Bing? Being search engine #2 does have it’s perks and gives them the flexibility to try different things with out much fear of loosing their audience.
The Numbers – Reaching 260,000+ Facebook Users Each Day
Yesterday, on the first full day of the Like button being on the homepage, at around 4:30 pm CST in the afternoon, Bing’s “Painted Hills in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in central Oregon” homepage had 1,122 likes.
Now, 20 hours later, the same homepage image has 2,005 likes.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends. (source: facebook.com)
If the average Bing home page receives 2,000 “Likes” and the average Bing user has 130 friends, then the an average home page image can reach 260,000 Facebook users. Each day.
And this is just for a photo of Oregon. What would happen if it was an image of the Statue of Liberty in New York? The Eiffel Tower? Or a picture of someone inspirational like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Creating a Connection
Most Conversion Rate Optimization and Social Media Marketing professionals will tell you that creating a connection and familiarity between your web presence/brand and your audience goes a long way to building trust and credibility online, two things that are important for increasing sales, leads, followers, returning visitors, and in this case, repeat searchers. In reality, this holds true across all marketing mediums, whether online of off.
By enabling users to share their home page “Likes”, Bing is helping create a personal connection between their site & search tool and potential searchers. Something that is difficult for most Websites and Tools to accomplish without having a person or community to make that connection for them.
This is the case with their “Painted Hills in central Oregon” homepage. I lived in Oregon for 20+ years and immediately recognized the photo of the John Day Fossil Beds as many Oregonians would.
Of all the daily photos, this one connected with me so I “Liked” it. It also connected with my sister Jenni and brother Tony who still live in Oregon.
We can relate to this photo in many ways: the state where we grew up, where we live(d), where we vacation, and where we know people that also can relate.
The Unasked Question: Who’s Really Using Bing?
As Bing’s search share continues to grow time, and time, and time, and time again, search marketers have continued to wonder if they should start taking Bing seriously. The situation is treated as if the data is not quite real. Or might be false.
Since many search engine marketing professionals are stringently devoted to Google, and don’t know anyone (sane) who would consider using another engine, there seems to be an unasked question: Who is really searching Bing?
I search Bing. Frequently. And I consider myself mostly sane.
Do you search Bing? Does anyone you know? Regularly?
How will your answers to these questions change in the future when you log in to Facebook and see a friend, co-worker or relative that has “Liked” a daily homepage, made a comment on it and has some small connection to the site. There is going to be a good chance that you’ll have a common connection to the “Likes” of the people you know. However remote or small that may be.
How many websites have you been to this week that have one of those Facebook “Like Boxes” on them that is tugging at you and showing others that are using them. You know, the boxes that have a dozen or so photos of people that “Like” them. Telling you that you’re not alone. The ones that just happen to contain a photo or two of someone that you know that FB has cleverly placed in the box to catch your attention.
Those boxes are powerful. Other peoples Likes and recommendations are powerful. They help change perceptions and the way people think and feel about a website and brand. There is safety and reassurance in not being alone. Even if you are surrounded by people you don’t yet know.
Bing is aware of this effect. This is their version of a “Like Box”.
Your own perception of Bing is going to change over time when you happen to visit their home page and see the number of people who Liked the photo go from 2,000 to 3,000 to 5,000 or 10,000+? When you start to see people you know that have already Liked it? Are you going to bring it up in conversation via FB, Twitter, text, email, phone or the next time you see them face to face? Probably depends on how strong of a connection you and they have to the photo.
What if the photo is of the Olympic games that your country is participating in? Or a religious holiday that your family celebrates? Of a travel spot in another country where you vacationed once and will always remember fondly? Or of Veterans Day that connects you to your Father, Father-in-Law and Brother-in-Law?
This is subtle way, that over time, a website and search engine can create a connection that becomes more personal and slightly unique to each individual…
Update – Bing Moved the Facebook Like Button
As Paul Kragthorpe pointed out in his post Bing.com Changes Homepage: Better Usability with Emphasis on Facebook Likes:
Bing has moved the Facebook Like button to within the photo. This is probably in hopes to draw more attention to it, and maybe help people get the point that they are actually "Liking" the Bing Image, and not Bing.com itself… don’t worry, we like you Bing! I really think this move will help them get a lot more likes. Time will tell.
You’ll also notice that they no longer show the exact number of people that are liking the image, they are rounding it. That’s probably just to save space.
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