Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Pre-Earnings: Bing Grew More Than Google

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing search engine grew twice as fast as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s search engine in the most recently completed quarter, according to one firm’s research. The latest survey from The Search Agency indicates that Bing saw 60% growth in spending by advertisers, while Google’s spend growth during the same period was 29%.

Mobile continues stealing from desktop search

Analysts with The Search Agency believe this means that advertisers are starting to see Bing as a more appealing network for advertisers. They note that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing saw increases in both click-through rate and decreases in cost per click.

The firm found that mobile, including both smartphones and tablets, made up 28% of all impressions during the quarter. As a result, researchers believe mobile will make up 40% of all impressions by the end of the year. Smartphone impressions grew 60%, while tablet impressions grew 42%. Desktop impressions grew just 9%.

Microsoft’s Bing versus Google

They found that total spending across both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s search engine and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing rose 35% year over year. That was driven by growth in all three types of devices: desktop, smartphone and tablet.

“Bing gains ground in overall search traffic and has proven to be an appealing alternative to Google,” said Delia Perez, SVP Marketing Strategy at The Search Agency, in a statement. “A number of factors are driving this growth as advertisers are drawn to Bing’s more flexible campaign management tools in the aftermath of Google’s crossover to enhanced campaigns.”

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also saw its click-through rate nearly double year over year, rising 85% and passing the gap with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG). In fact, Google’s click-through rate fell 5.5% year over year. Google’s cost per click rose 8.4%, while Bing’s fell 12.3%. The firm’s analysts believe this means competition within Google’s “bidding environment” is rising compared to Bing’s.

Why Bing may be creeping up on Google

The firm also found that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) increased its spend share slightly, taking share from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Of course Google still held a significant lead over Microsoft, with 75.9% of the share to 24.1% of Microsoft’s share. However, Google’s share has been sinking gradually in each of the last three quarters, while Microsoft’s share has been edging upward.

Analysts at the firm believe advertisers could be interested in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s more flexible campaign management. This is especially true in the wake of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s shift over to Enhanced Campaigns. Advertisers are adjusting to the bundling of devices, so they may see Bing as offering an alternative which is more customizable.

What to expect from Microsoft’s earnings tonight

When Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) releases its earnings report tonight, analysts are expecting earnings of 63 cents per share on $20.4 billion in revenue. This will be new CEO Satya Nadella’s first earnings call as CEO. He is actually expected to be part of tonight’s earnings call, which is unlike his predecessor. Steve Ballmer almost never took part because he was seen as many as a loose cannon at an event in which more control is required.

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