Media Mavens

Media Mavens: Eric Hadley, Bing

The Face of Microsoft's Search Engine Is Not Just a Party Boy; He's Out Growing Share and Relevance

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If you've attended a glitzy Bing event, you've likely seen Eric Hadley. But ask those who know Mr. Hadley, general manager for Microsoft's search engine, about the perception of him as a party boy, and they tell you it's a misconception.

"He's more of a producer," said Joanne Bradford, chief revenue officer of Demand Media, who worked with Mr. Hadley at Microsoft and Yahoo.

Eric Hadley, Bing
Eric Hadley, Bing

For Mr. Hadley, that role of producer takes on many forms, including an actual producer credit in a Sundance film about the life of cardiologist Dr. Richard Bing. He's the one at Microsoft orchestrating splashy sponsorships of events such as Jay -Z's book launch party and Lebron James' "The Decision." And he's the one signing off on more low-key collaborations, such as one with TV host Maria Menounos, and video spots in New York cabs starring local personalities. The common thread? An attempt to massage Bing deeper into pop-culture consciousness, while staying grounded in a deep appreciation for analytics.

In the two-plus years since Bing's launch, Mr. Hadley has helped Microsoft make slow but steady progress. In August, Bing's search share rose to 14.7% from 11.1% a year earlier, according to ComScore. Google's share dropped slightly to 64.8% from 65.4% during the same time. The problem is that Bing's gains seem to come at the expense of Yahoo, whose search Bing powers.

"We're not going to convince people to switch cold turkey," Mr. Hadley said. "So we find where we have a differentiator and market that ."

Historically, that has meant shining a light on travel and entertainment and, more recently, a Facebook integration on results pages.

Still, Bing has a steep mountain to climb—but Mr. Hadley insists Microsoft isn't close to throwing in the towel.

"There's no golden goose," Mr. Hadley said. "So we're going to continue to bet on what we know works and delivers results and, on the other side, continue making big bets that , if they work, will be huge."

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