Microsoft’s Bing search engine will be rolling out UI changes starting in the next few days. Since its launch about a year ago, Bing has been innovating mostly on its interface, and these changes continue that mission. The emphasis for the update will be on providing more context — including real-time feeds — and visual information.
What’s worrisome about Bing, from a content provider’s perspective… is that the search engine will provide so much context that a click-through to the originating site becomes unnecessary. (This, of course, allows Bing and not the publisher to monetize the publisher’s content.) Microsoft doesn’t see that as much of an issue. From Redmond Channel Partner:
One attendee of the keynote asked [Yusef] Mehdi [Microsoft’s SVP of online audience business] if Microsoft’s efforts to render more contextual data within Bing would result in fewer click-throughs to sites. Mehdi responded that he doesn’t see cause for concern. “What we have found is there are more click-throughs when you add richer captions,” he said.
There’s a interesting data point, if he’d be willing to share his numbers. It would also be interesting to discover if rich-content clickthroughs convert on a publisher’s site better than clicks based on less-rich content. In other words, do people who click on high-context links bounce more or less than referrals from low-context links? Or are high-context links killing the geese with the golden eggs?