Marketers and customers alike now have more factors to consider in the online shopping process through Microsoft Bing. On August 10, 2022, Bing announced three new annotation features to its core search and shopping experience: ethical ratings, price tracking, and coupons.
A Rise in Conscious Consumption Behaviors
Ethical brands and the rise in demand for them have been much more prevalent in the last few years. According to Google’s 2020 Consumer Insights, 82% of consumers say that sustainability is more top of mind now than it was before COVID-19. However, it was Microsoft Bing that led the charge as the first search engine to adopt ethical ratings as a central feature in its shopping search experience.
How This Impacts Both Brands & Marketers
The new ethical annotation feature may be of particular interest to values-driven younger shoppers (most of whom grew up using Chrome and Safari - this could be an innovative bid to convert them to Microsoft Bing.) It’s also worth noting how much more willing to pay for a premium for eco-friendly brands people are, according to last year’s Global Sustainability Study 2021 Survey. As such, this growth in demand increases significantly when compared between older and younger generations:
“Globally, 85 percent of people indicate that they have shifted their purchase behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years… When looking at both Baby Boomers and Generation X, 24 percent across each have significantly changed their behavior towards being more sustainable -- this figure climbs to 32 percent for Millennials.”
Bing’s new ethical shopping features not only empowers the shift in more conscious-consumption behaviors, particularly the younger demographic, but also compels brands and marketers turn their attention to this growing concern by means of the content they provide or products they sell.
A Closer Look at Bing’s Ethical Choice Annotations
In May of 2022, Bing partnered with Good On You, which helped make sustainability a central feature to its core search experience with its Ethical Shopping Hub. Good On You carefully vets brands on their sustainability claims, recognizing the healthy wariness among consumers of big brands simply “greenwashing” with unsubstantiated claims of eco-friendliness. Coupled with the Ethical Shopping Hub, Bing’s new Ethical Choice annotation takes the complexity out of searching for eco-friendly brands and products, making ethical shopping behaviors easier than ever.
New Price-Tracking & Coupon Features
The more price-conscious shoppers (which is a fast-emerging trend, according to a recent report from Commerce Signals) will also appreciate the coupon alerts, especially with today’s inflation and higher costs of goods.
There are plenty of price tracking and coupon-code browser extensions out there, namely RetailMeNot, Honey, Keepa, etc. Although they can be very useful, the coupons are often out of date, and the 3rd-party price change alerts can be unintuitive to work with. Having this native feature already built into the browser should be a nice improvement to the user experience and may move the needle on engagement.
Putting It All Together
So how can you find all these new features? Simply search as you normally would when shopping online. As you browse through Bing’s interface, you’ll see these new features on the brands. You’ll also be able to hover over and click into each annotation to see more information.
While still being rolled out on a broad scale, this update comes just in time for the Q4 holiday rush, relieving some of the legwork for most consumers looking for good prices and for buying options that align with their values. Advertisers should stay in lock-step with this functionality, gauge any changes in engagement and/or conversion rates, and adjust budgets accordingly.
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