How Would Your Social Media Strategy Change if Facebook Bought BING?

David Amerland
David Amerland owner/founder,

Posted on May 2nd 2012

How Would Your Social Media Strategy Change if Facebook Bought BING?

These days we talk so much about disruption that we forget that one of the most disruptive companies around grew and revolved around search. Google used search to help us make sense of a massive web and then monetized it by radically changing the way advertising worked.

We talk of social media without pausing to remember that initially it only became important because it helped websites rank high through a website’s social signal that Google uses to assess its relevance. Search is still key to any business on the web and the recent outcry about the Google Penguin update which knocked thousands of legitimate websites, along with webspam, off Google’s top pages, proves that.

The notion that Facebook might buy BING is based on an industry rumour that surfaced just as the Facebook IPO was announced and which simply will not go away. Facebook’s somewhat surprising purchase of Instagram which was seen as a move designed to take a toy away from Google’s Android environment and add a passable mobile strategy to help calm pre-IPO shakes, has done nothing to quench the rumours.

If anything, an analysis of the reasons why Facebook might want to buy and Microsoft might want to sell makes nothings but good horse sense:

  • Facebook’s search is a joke
  • Microsoft’s search is a joke (at least in terms of market share)
  • Facebook ads are delivering lower and lower returns
  • Microsoft’s search is costing it $2.5 billion a year
  • Microsoft is already a Facebook partner
  • Facebook could exchange shares for BING

Need I go on? Valued at between $5 and $10 billion BING would have the kind of effect on the Facebook ecosystem that Zucke thought Facebook’s Timeline would (and didn’t). It would suddenly make sense of a chaotic environment, give companies which are abandoning shop and migrating to Google Plus, a reason to come back and could revive Facebook’s flagging ads.

Happening at a time when Google has come in for a lot of criticism in the way it handles search this is just the kind of move which would define Facebook’s role on the web and make the word disruption relevant once again. So, what’s stopping it? This is just it. Nothing.

There is actually nothing discernible stopping Facebook from acquiring BING and changing everything on the web again, except perhaps its CEO’s inclination. In the oft-questioned Instagram purchase Zuckerberg went over the Facebook board’s heads (or behind their backs, depending upon how you want to see it) and made a face-to-face, dollar-bag-of-loot offer to its founders. Having paid $1 billion for a phone app and taken some heat for it, he might be disinclined to get brave again and snap-up BING no matter how much sense it might make.

David Amerland

David Amerland


David Amerland is the author of seven best-selling books including "Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Gets Your Company More Traffic, Increases Brand Impact and Amplifies Your Online Presence" and "Google+ Hangouts for Business: How to use Google+ Hangouts to Improve Brand Impact, Build Business and Communicate in Real-Time."

He helps multi-national clients and start-ups to organize their SEO and Social Media strategies. He is a business journalist, author and international speaker. He blogs about social media and search engine optimization, writes for a number of prominent websites including Forbes, and advises a handful of corporations on their social media crisis management techniques.

His books on SEO and Social Media demystify the complexity of the subjects they cover for readers around the world providing an accessible blueprint to better understand and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the connected economy. Follow him on @DavidAmerland. or find him on G+

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Posted on May 3rd 2012 at 8:55PM

I might look at PPC advertising on Bing differently. If Facebook became part of the Bing network, and advertisers could also manage their campaigns on Facebook effectively, it might add value to advertisers. Who knows, folks might actually spend PPC $ on Bing!

David Amerland
Posted on May 25th 2012 at 9:38PM

You are absolutely right. This is exactly the power of a Facebook/BING mashup. It is what Google is actually afraid of and we might just see it happen.