Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cashback on Bing

Internet Retailer reports that as the back-to-school and holiday shopping periods approach [and have already started in some stores!], ad spend increasingly will focus on encouraging consumers to try the Shopping section of Bing — one of six areas highlighted on the Bing home page, along with Images, Videos, News, Maps and Travel — according to Dave Wascha, senior director of Bing Shopping and Cashback, Microsoft’s year-old rebate program that prominently promotes participating merchants in Bing Shopping results. He also says Microsoft promotions will encourage consumers to try Cashback.

Bing and Cashback

Musician’s Hut has announced that it is going to try Cashback, a result of the 10% jump in traffic from the Bing engine that the e-tailer registered in June. That persuaded them to commit to the expense of feeding data to another marketing program, an investment that hadn’t been a high priority before Bing.

Microsoft, which launched Cashback last year based on technology it acquired when it bought Jellyfish in 2007, pushed to recruit merchants to Cashback in advance of the Bing launch, says Microsoft’s Wascha. He says more than 800 merchants now participate in the program, in which retailers set a percentage discount on each product, and Microsoft sends a check for the discounted amount to consumers who buy through Cashback.

A problem that bedeviled Cashback was fixed in advance of the Bing launch. When a consumer clicked on a retailer’s Cashback offer the next page he saw was a Cashback sign-in screen. Confused consumers often abandoned the purchase. Now a greyed-out image of the retailer’s page appears behind the sign-in box, cueing consumers that they are on the right track.

“The initial interstitial page had a pretty poor performance,” Wascha says. “Now performance is significantly better.”

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