Bing chief Qi Lu doesn’t worry that much about Bing’s low market share versus Google.
At an event today announcing Bing’s new social networking sidebar and other changes, Lu said that he and Microsoft consider market share to be a “lagging indicator.”
In other words, when Bing makes a change, the effects don’t show up in market share numbers for months.
Lu is more interested in other metrics that show up sooner.
So we asked him to give a few examples of leading indicators that show Bing is actually doing well.
He named a few:
- NDCG, which stands for “normalized discounted cumulative gain,” is an accepted measurement of quality for search results.
- Blind search tests, where Bing and Google search results are placed side by side and users are asked to pick the better results.
- Market share versus vertical search engines. Lu noted that Bing does not only compete against Google, but also against vertical search engines. (An example would be Kayak for travel, although Lu didn’t cite it specifically.)
- User engagement measurements, like how often people are returning to Bing after making a search there.
He also noted that while Microsoft is still way behind Google — Bing has about 15% US market share versus Google’s 66% — it has gained share almost every month since the Bing rebrand in May 2009. (Previously, Microsoft’s search engine was called Live Search.)
A lot of those gains came at the expense of Yahoo, which uses Bing search results, and was Lu’s employer before he joined Microsoft in December 2008. So it’s kind of a bittersweet victory, right?
Lu graciously said that he wants Bing to be a valuable partner to Yahoo, and wants to make sure that Microsoft is getting a good value out of its “investment” in the Yahoo deal. But Microsoft only provides the search results themselves.
It’s up to Yahoo to design its Web site in a way to get people to conduct searches there.