Yesterday, Bing and Facebook made a joint announcement regarding a significant milestone in their partnership. Moving forward, Bing will be integrating Facebook as a social layer within its search results – initially around people-based searches, but with upcoming extensions to Product, Local and Video searches as well.
The partnership, which dates back to 2007 when Facebook had “only” 7 million users, has now reached a new level. As the press event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rationalized Bing as an obvious partner on the grounds that they are “underdogs,” and “innovative.” However, it was implied that this social integration to search is not exclusive to Bing, but that the Redmond giant proved to be the most suited early beneficiary of this social context.
Facebook, with over 500 million users, billions of sharing activities, and 25 million pieces of content shared every day offers a critical signal that can supplement and make search a better experience. For example, Bing reported that 4% of its search queries are people-related searches. The satisfaction rate against these queries is low, in the order of 20%. With the Facebook integration, Bing can provide results that benefit from rich social context. Ultimately, this will extend to further search use cases, including recommendations from your social network on product queries, restaurants or even that Banksy Simpsons video your friends told you about.
At 360i, we have long been speculating on the seemingly unavoidable contribution of social relevance to the search experience. Yesterday’s announcement is confirmation that the intrinsic value of social context that Facebook holds is going to improve and expand what we view as the traditional search experience. The news also seems to place Bing and Facebook at loggerheads with Google. In this POV, we explore how the social boom will change the search landscape and, as a result, influence how marketers approach SEO.