Keynote Address by Satya Nadella of Microsoft Live Search

Nov 13, 2008 - 12:56 pm 0 by
Filed Under PubCon 2008

Brett Tabke with Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President, Search, MSN Portal & Advertising Platform Group, Microsoft.

Brett welcomes everyone and does some quick house keeping.

Satya Nadella is now up, it seems like he will be speaking, no back and forth with Brett.

(1) Evolution of Search (2) Services that Microsoft is providing for publishers

Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President, Search, MSN Portal & Advertising Platform Group, Microsoft

He starts with the web ecosystem, you have publishers and you have advertisers and then you have services; the ad platforms, audience platforms and infrastructure platforms.

Evolution of Search, he said how we had directories, to machine learn ranking algorithms. We had CPM/Paid inclusion, larger reach, and reactive customers, Consumers now query as oppose to browse.

The evolution is driven by the feedback loop of data. One of those data points is what are users doing on search engines. There are two things that are indicative of the next big shift in search. Close to 50% of time spent on search engines, about 50% is spent about 30 minutes on them. About 50% of queriers are returning.

50% of the time spent on a search engine, has behavior to look, find and then buying. Fundamental thing, is no one does queries in isolation, they do it in search for task completion.

Search engines have to get much better at understanding the queries, understanding the content and understanding the actions, in order to take search to the next level. Going forward then get better at getting to the action of search, making sure to take that click and finishing the task and then providing more visibility in that process to the advertiser. Better to bring a place, person or thing and bring them together to provide a better search experience.

That is the evolution of search, there is a lot of innovation to be done, a lot of test, etc.

Live Search is focused on (1) delivering the best search results, (2) Simplify the tasks and (3) innovate in the business model. Microsoft is "on pace" with the race on "core relevance." Microsoft is committed on this going forward. Core relevance improvements is to come up with new relevancy metrics and concepts. Powerset is an example of this. They also look at image search and video search and they have some of the industry leading in that. Microsoft wants to create more richer experiences that understand more user tasks in the commercial domain (product, travel, health, etc.) On the business model, live search cash back is a method for this. The next step is to introduce more efficiency in the CPC/CPM model.

Alexandra Mickel from the Live Search team takes the stage to show a demo. She shows off the home page and shows off the "hot spots." She then searches for "bellagio," which shows auto complete and then goes to images - they have integrated Virtual Earth. Plus they have "infinite scroll," so users don't have to hit next, you just scroll and it shows you more images and more.

She then showed a search result for flights from seattle to las vegas which shows details of Farecast, here are those details (I love Farecast).

She then shows a search for canon digital camera and how it shows product search results, and deeper links into Canon's web site. The product results have number of filters, rating, reviews, pricing comparison and Cash Back. Notice of the ad from eBay on the right has a Live Search cashback link (you can save a ton of money this way guys).

She then shows the updated Hotmail screen. Using their Live Search API, they integrated features on the right to insert details from Live Search.

Video Browse just started at Live Search Video. Hover over the images for a play back.

Satya Nadella is now back up.

150-200 relevancy improvements are made every quarter. They measure this stuff every month. If you have not used Live Search in a long time, give it a try and let him know your thoughts.

He now brings up Cash Back. A bigger criticism was that they didn't tie in the research mode into the buy mode with cash back. So they are bridging the two together more and more every day. They measured progress on three levels, consumer choice, advertiser ROI and query growth.

Consumer Choice: 30% increase in number of product offerings, 20 of top 50 US retailers and lot of merchants.

Advertiser ROI: eBay is shifting their spend to Microsoft. 50% better ROI because of the cash back model. Lots of these retailers are seeing great conversions. So give it a try.

Query Growth: User engagement is up in being more loyal and more click yields. They got a good unique growth. This is all substantiated by the comScore study coming out today.

Project Silk Road - Services for Developers and Publishers:

Lots of the technology they built up can be useful to developers and publishers. Project Silk Road is a broad project, all about opening up their data and technology more transparent. We care about: Increasing engagement, to generate traffic and drive insight (tools and analytics). It is all about boosting agility and control with turnkey solutions for storage, site management, merchandising and advertising.

They have Virtual Earth API, Webmaster Center, Video Syndication, Live Search API, adCenter for pubs, Custom Web Error Toolkit, Instant Answers, FAST ESP, adCenter API, Excel add in and so on. These are all bring brought together.

Live Search API 2.0, unlimited calls, easy integration, monetization methods and flexible: Available today at

Alexandra Mickel is back on stage to demo: web site was put together in a single day from the Live Search API. It is a blog, with contextual ads, the ad in the top right is an interactive ad - this is a new concept to engage in the ads, the plan a trip link and it has many of Microsoft's APIs plugged in there. Maps, Images, silver light, encartra, and so on. She then goes to webmaster tools, she shows the crawl issues page, she then shows off the Excel add in tool for adCenter (pretty powerful add in for excel, in terms of keyword research, quickly).

Satya Nadella is now back up.

He then reinforces what she said. How important it is that they are opening up their data.

Overall they are excited about the progress they have made.

Danny has his write up on this at SELand with Silk Road and Cash Back.


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