Ng: Blind test-A A +A
Thursday, October 3, 2013
REMEMBER the Pepsi challenge? This was held back in the 1980s and it challenged a concept – that people chose Coke out of habit and marketing but when they were blindfolded and asked to choose which of the cola they were drinking tasted better, they chose Pepsi.
Apparently, Microsoft had a similar idea when they tried to introduce the Bing It On campaign. The assumption is that people use Google to search mostly based on habit and misconception rather than Google giving you the more relevant results.
Answers Research, a marketing company, was commissioned in San Diego to conduct an online sampling of about 1,000 people 18 years and older all over the US. The subjects were not aware that the study was sponsored by Microsoft.
In the test, the participants made their search and were shown two test results. The two test results were presented but all branding or anything that would give a clue about which search engine was used was removed. The participants were then asked which of the search engines provided the better results.
The tests revealed that Bing web results won over Google by nearly 2 to 1. Of the participants, 57.4 percent chose the Bing results as better while 30.2 percent chose Google. Of those asked, 12.4 percent thought the results were equally good.
What is interesting is that Freakonomics, a well known group that is popular for releasing many studies about social behavior in various best selling books called Freakonomics, decided to try the test themselves.
Their study yielded slightly different results. In theirs, 53 percent thought the Google results were better while only 41 percent choose Bing, and six percent could not decide.
While not a win for Bing, it also showed that most of the time, the quality of results could be almost comparable, with one not clearly superior to the other, and may not justify why Google is used by over 65 percent of the people, with Bing accounting for only around 20 percent. Maybe people really just make buying or choice decisions through habits. Anyway, the Pepsi challenge did result in both companies recognizing the importance of proper marketing and engagement, and we hope studies like these can also nudge the tech companies to work and serve the customers better.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.