Do Search Marketers Need One More Ad Vendor?

    April 26, 2007

I’m constantly asked which search engines a rookie paid search advertiser should work with. Obviously, everyone should take part in Google AdWords, because Google covers half or more of all searches. Most marketers should also look at Yahoo!, which handles about one-quarter of all searches—their Panama platform has made them an even more interesting choice for ad spending.

But what about Microsoft? Or Or MIVA? Every search marketer has a limited amount of time to spend managing campaigns, so what would cause you to look at them?

Big search marketers probably have the volume to look at many paid placement vendors, but smaller companies must be more careful. Let’s look at several search vendors and see what you get out of them besides a bit more traffic:

  • Microsoft. The big carrot here is personalization. Search marketers can pay a premium to get customers in certain demographics (such as age or gender)—if that results in more qualified visitors for your site, then it might be worth the extra work to manage a Microsoft campaign.
  • Ask. The newest program has one of the best sweeteners. If you spend $5,000 a month with them, Ask provides free search marketing consulting to improve copy, click rates, and other return on investment factors. You might find that what you learn from this free consulting could be applied to ads you run on other search engines, boosting your entire campaign.
  • MIVA. MIVA has traditionally had a stronger presence in Europe than elsewhere, so you may consider them more strongly in certain country markets. In addition, MIVA has an interesting inline advertising option, so some advertisers may find that they benefit from a different presentation than the average contextual ad.

You’ll find no end of options for the search marketer with time on your hands—except there aren’t any such search marketers. We’re all busy and we must pick our spots to decide what’s worth our time. After you’ve focused on Google and Yahoo!, however, maybe these thoughts can provide you some guidance as to whether to spend your time on one more paid placement vendor.