Hi everyone,

My name is Andrew Yang and I am the Search Evangelist for Bing Canada. Part of my role as an evangelist is to connect with the Canadian community of Bing Ads users and be the voice of our products and research throughout the year. My goal is to be a great resource for the community and I hope to be as helpful as possible to everyone " answering questions, helping users leverage Bing Ads tools as best as possible, and demystifying search with Bing.ca. Im honoured to be able to contribute to the search community in Canada, and I look forward to helping " and learning from " all of you in the upcoming months.

I wanted to get things started with an interview I recently did with Microsoft Canadas Owen Sagness. Hes our General Manger for Advertising and Online, and as you can see hes got some neat perspectives on digital marketing in Canada.


Owen Sagness: GM for Advertising & Online Canada

Owen, do you mind telling us a bit about what you do at Microsoft?

Absolutely. My role at Microsoft is to evolve the digital marketing industry in Canada and allow marketers to leverage opportunities that digital media brings. We have an amazing array of top Canadian destinations such as MSN.ca, Bing.ca, Xbox Live, Outlook.com and Skype that can be leveraged to provide great creative campaigns.

How did you end up in your current position?

I first became interested in the two-way dialogue that online advertising can provide " as opposed to traditional one-way media " when I was VP of MSN Canada. Now, as the General Manager of Advertising and Online, I am still fascinated to see the industry constantly evolve. Even after eight years in the industry I am still excited to come to work. Its great to be forward-thinking in the advertising trends that will shape consumer lives, add value to the digital space, and provide greater consumer engagement.

Speaking of forward-thinking, what big search trends are going to be important for Canada?

At Microsoft, we believe that Bing should be about doing and not searching. The original World Wide Web was topical. and was based on organizing pages of content. But this has now evolved to where consumers now access new devices and services through social, geospatial and apps. Where we see search evolving is the ability to integrate these items.

Take, for example, social. People are more connected and count on their social networks to help keep them in touch, find information, and make decisions. For geospatial, the information based on the world around us can be digitized in a way to provide context that enhances our understanding and experiences. Finally, with apps, taking those third-party data sets in apps and incorporating them into experiences that will shape the web into a web of actions.

At Microsoft we see search evolving and taking advantage of the social signals, searching for things based on whats around us, and the increased use of apps as a big trend to capitalize on.

We spoke about the future now what about the past? What were you most thrilled for in 2012?

2012 was definitely an exciting year. One thing which stood out in particular was the rebrand we did from AdCenter to Bing Ads. The ease of use should go beyond the product. Thats why we took an effort to simplify our brand.

We have also made great strides in improving the Bing Ads products. Instead of quarterly releases, we took the feedback of our customers and have begun to release product updates monthly.

But the launch of Windows 8 has stood out for me in 2012. Weve had 60 million Windows 8 licenses sold and its been outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades. Windows 8 has great features to leverage both search and social integrated right into the operating system.

The Bing Search App is also pre-installed in all Windows 8 and reimagines the traditional search engine results page (SERP). The Bing Apps focus is to create a touch first/finger friendly experience. The SERP is now outlined in a grid format that allows for easy swiping and takes advantage of the snap view of Windows 8.

Windows 8 - Snap View

Windows 8 was definitely a major highlight of 2012. A question I get asked often is why should one advertise on the Yahoo! Bing Network?

Simple, Andrew, its about audience. We have an extremely unique audience. According to comScore, we have 13.5 million Canadians that search on the Yahoo! Bing Network and 2.9 million Canadians that ONLY search on the Yahoo! Bing Network. You are leaving a very sizeable part of the Canadian audience out if you dont run a Bing Ads campaign. Moreover, according to comScore, our audience will spend about 39% more than the average searcher.

Finally is there anything else you would like to leave our readers with?

Absolutelywe have a great social media team working on Bing Ads. Feel free to follow them to get the latest and greatest about Bing. Our twitter handle is @BingAds and we have an amazing blog. Finally, stop by our Facebook page to check out all activities that we are up to!

Thank you for your time Owen. Looking forward to checking back with you again soon.