Friday, June 5, 2009

Satya Nadella Keynote At Bing Search Summit

Satya Nadella, SVP of Microsoft’s Online Services Division, gave the morning keynote at the Microsoft Search Summit. It was an introduction to and tour of Bing and adCenter upgrades and improvements. Nadella began with a review of the search market and its growth. He was initially apologetic to the audience about Microsoft’s market share. He proceeded to outline the problems with the current state of search that Bing tries to address.

Nadella said “only 1 in 4 queries deliver successful results.” This is based on Microsoft’s observation of search user behavior from historical Live Search logs and its toolbar installs (where they get visibility on search behavior on other engines). Repeat queries or refinements and abandonments indicate current dissatisfaction or deficiencies of the current state of search.


“In the quest to find the perfect search engine, we still have a lot of room.”

Nadella explains that people engage in long search sessions. Almost 50% of time spent searching is spent during sessions longer than 30 minutes. But those sessions, according to Microsoft, represent only 5% of search sessions overall. He also showed the following consumer data focused on Microsoft’s four strategic verticals.

The slide shows 66% of people are using search more frequently as a decision-making tool; and in their strategic verticals:

* 75% product purchases
* 62% Local activity
* 45% Flight or hotel
* 43% Healthcare

Nadella explains Bing’s “task orientation” and begins a hands-on walk-through of the site. He shows the homepage and discusses its strong “emotional appeal.” He says that among consumers it’s one of the most liked features of the site. Then he takes us on a tour of the site and concretely points out the features (e.g., Best Match, Instant Answers) that are designed to minimize clicks and respond to typical user behaviors.

He shows a local search “San Diego Events” and points out a range of information about events but also about San Diego more broadly. He discusses health search and authoritative answers, with health-related content and articles that can be read on the SERP. Nadella goes on to discuss shopping and the range of information that can be obtained on the SERP without having to click away. In general, what these and other examples collectively show is the deeper integration of verticals and related vertical content into the search result (to avoid too many clicks and the back button).

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