Think back three years and you probably recall a cacophony of moans and groans from digital marketers. 

Google had announced that search conducted through a Google service – Gmail, Google Plus, etc. – would be encrypted.

This meant that search reports within analytic solutions would appear with a ‘not provided’ label for the traffic, making analysis difficult to discern. 

Marketers complained that search engine optimization was hindered with this change, making segmentation analysis or additional modeling useless from an organic search perspective. In fact, there was once worry that encryption would spread to other major search engines.

And Now, Bing

Finally that proverbial other shoe has dropped.

Microsoft announced that its search engine, Bing, would begin encrypting organic searches in a similar manner. Thus marketers will see Bing-associated referral traffic as instead of referrals from

With the change, Bing will no longer pass query detail, protecting user privacy. Without the query limitation, according to Google and now Bing, analysts can technically identify users individually in certain instances.

The introduction of encrypted searches will launch this summer.

Fired Up Again

The change will certainly reignite debates in the digital marketing community. Marketers won’t be able to know in detail how searchers are finding their sites through the top two leading search engines.

It may also signal modifications coming to Bing Webmaster. The tool is analogous to Google Webmaster, and Google has made significant changes to it to address marketer concerns about researching search query.  

Google just announced a name change from Webmaster to Search Console to reflect search reporting improvements within Google Webmaster. It should not be a surprise for Bing to offer revised search query features of its own.

If those changes arrive, it also confirms major changes in how search is conducted online. When both Google and Bing were introduced, searches were primarily conducted through a laptop.

Factoring in Mobile

Today those searches are on mobile, while different kinds of searches — whether video through YouTube or a search for an app — are becoming new means to discover businesses. 

For example, Bing is adding app indexing, asking webmasters to use the framework described at, an open-source markup notation for app to app linking that works across platforms. 

The purpose is to add markup so that a Bing mobile search query can better understand and return consistent content results within a mobile device.

In the meantime, analytic practitioners who have become accustomed to using Google Webmaster and Google Analytics together should consider Bing Webmaster for a comprehensive view of search queries influence. 

The addition can only make digital marketing plans for their business better.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by Beshef.