Last week, we made a case that Bing should be taken seriously as a potential competitor to Google. Here is another good reason to make sure that your company’s website is optimized for strong placement in Bing as well as Google: Bing has been busy signing all sorts of interesting partnership deals.
One of the most important deals Bing has made recently is its partnership with Facebook. We’ll come back to that in a couple of weeks.
For now, though, we’d like to focus on another Bing partnership deal. On May 3, 2011, Bing and BlackBerry maker RIM announced that Bing will become the default search engine for all BlackBerry devices. In other words: anyone who searches for a service company on their BlackBerry will do it using Bing.
So, you ask, exactly how many people are going to be using Bing on their BlackBerry? Let’s do the numbers.
In the first quarter of 2011, there were 72.5 million smartphones in use in the US. The total US population is 311,455,000, which means that about one out of every four Americans uses a smartphone.
According to a survey of 30,000 US mobile subscribers by ComScore, an internet marketing research company, the US smartphone market breaks down as follows:
- 34.7% of smartphones are Android devices (up from 28.7% in the last quarter of 2010)
- 25.5% of smartphones are iPhones (up slightly from 25% in 2010)
- 27.1% of smartphones are BlackBerry devices (down from 31.6% at the end of 2010)
Doing one last calculation, we can estimate that more than 19.5 million people – six percent of the population – will now use Bing on their BlackBerry smartphone.
What’s more, Bing is now an official search option on the iPhone, which used to be Google-only. If iPhone users are impressed, as we were, by Bing’s user-friendly layout and features, they might switch their settings and start using Bing on their iPhones as well.
(Of course, Android is a Google product, so Android users are going to be forced to stick with Google on their phones.)
Now, let’s think trends. While it’s true that BlackBerry’s market share is diminishing slightly, the cell phone market in general, especially the smartphone market, is growing. Even more importantly, an increasing number of people are getting rid of their landlines and using their mobile phone as their only phone. There’s also the trend we discussed a few weeks ago: the sharp decline in Yellow Pages use because people are using the web to look up phone numbers.
Add all these up, and you can only arrive at one conclusion: if you’re a service company, more and more people will be using their smartphones to look up your number and call you. More specifically – going back to the first statistic we mentioned – perhaps as many as one out of four of your customers are calling you from a smartphone.
Of course, you should make sure that your website performs well in BlackBerry users’ Bing searches. But one in four is a percentage you can’t ignore: you need to ensure that your website works well on all smartphones.
Next week we’ll talk about how we at iMarket program our websites to look great and function optimally on mobile devices.