This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
Buy products via Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Get money back. It’s a message that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) keeps on pushing in its bid to boost its share of the search market. A new TV ad for Bing shows gold coins falling from the sky (they could be yours!) to sell the company’s ‘cashback’ program, which gives searchers who buy selected products they find a percentage of the purchase price back. That follows a month-long promotion, which doubled the savings that searchers could get on some goods.
So, has it been effective? Unclear. Cashback has certainly been popular among discount shoppers. The month long promotion was cut short because the money Microsoft had allocated for it ran out, according to InternetRetailer. The program was also down for most of ‘Black Friday’ last year because there was so much interest. And Microsoft has claimed Cashback has boosted its share of commercial search queries and has boosted advertiser return on investment.
But for all the interest, Cashback does not seem to have helped Microsoft build up its overall market share in the past. Microsoft had 8 percent of the search market in May, the last month before it relaunched its search engine as Bing, compared to 8.5 percent before it introduced Cashback a year earlier. (Of course, it’s possible that Microsoft would have lost more share without Cashback).
By Joseph Tartakoff