Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance Good or Bad for Search Marketing?

Microsoft Delves Into Numbers, Some Advertisers Unhappy

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Earlier this week, Microsoft shared some numbers from the Microsoft-Yahoo Search Alliance (search and advertising deal), which saw Bing powering the back-end of Yahoo Search, and the merger of Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter.

“The data showed that from August 2010 to December 2010 Search Market Query Share for Bing rose 7.25%,” wrote Microsoft’s Paul Greenwood. “During this same period Google gained .61%. Impressions for adCenter advertisers was up 4%, clicks up 2%, and costs roughly flat. CPC was consistently below Google.”

We’ve seen some complaints indicating that there are some unhappy campers among Yahoo/Microsoft advertisers since the Search Alliance came into play. In the comments section of our last article on the subject, for example, one reader wrote:

I’ll also add that my company, as a partner of Yahoo’s, now Bing’s partner by default, a partner that has sent a lot of high quality traffic for almost seven years now, has been treated like dog dirt in terms of Bing’s new payout. Once the switch from Yahoo to Bing was complete Microsoft sucked the money, also known as a clawback, from their partners. What once was a .50 cent click payout is now a .12 cent click payout, for example. This is what partners like me are seeing.

If they expect to form great relationships with their partners they are doing a poor job of it as every traffic provider to Bing now is bitching about the absurdly low, crap payments we are now getting.

I left Bing just yesterday and did a deal with Google. You can bite it Bing……. until you respect your partners more.

We’d like to hear about your experiences as an advertiser with Yahoo/Microsoft since the Search Alliance. Have they been positive or negative? Tell us about it in the comments.

Microsoft has now posted the following bullet points from a Search Engine Strategies NY session led by Dr. Niraj Shah on the Microsoft Advertising Blog:

Stats of Paid Search Performance Relative to Google

– CTR was roughly equivalent to Google but declined from November
– CPC was consistency below Google; trending downward trend post-transition

Stats Search Conversion Rate and CPA

– Conversion rates dipped during transition but ended 2010 13% higher
– Cost per action (CPA) increased during transition but finished 17% lower

How do we wrap this up? Where do advertisers go with this information?

– Early movers can gain an edge.
– Instead of now having to manage across three engines you can narrow down. – Saving time and becoming more efficient.
– Favorable CPC’s and cheaper clicks and conversions.
– Improved reach and volume drivers greater consistency and manageability
– Favorable CPC and conversion environment (for now)
– Strong performance characteristics imply a higher ROAS than before

Best practices for search alliance success

– Identify coverage gaps between Microsoft Advertising adCenter and Adwords
– Pay attention to geo-targeting and match type settings when transitioning campaigns
– Bid adCenter keywords at the Match-type Level
– Adjust budgets to account for increased volumes
– Set alerts to identify and expand high performing terms

Bing Director Stefan Weitz said, “Because we’re actually powering Yahoo, and not necessarily being Yahoo, Yahoo has the ability (and are doing a great job) innovating on the front-end user experience. So they take our great core results, and on top they can apply their secret sauce…For consumers, what it gives them, is two really different experiences, and depending on which one you like for a particular query, you get to have those experiences. It’s great for consumers.”

As far as Yahoo’s front-end, the search engine launched a new feature this week called Search Direct, which appears to be Yahoo’s response to Google Instant, though there are some differences. This does in fact show that Yahoo is still focused on bringing its own front-end flavor to search, and not just becoming a needless version of Bing. Yahoo still has some things going for it that Google and Bing don’t in its original content that it isn’t shy about pushing into its search experience.

Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance Good or Bad for Search Marketing?
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  • http://www.littletravellers.com alex

    I think is about a time someone step on google to take away their prominency on the market! They have been “abusing” their market position for years and maybe Yahoo with Microsoft might just be able to do that!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Bing’s market share has grown every month since its launch, but it has a ways to go.

      • http://www.duramalereviews.com Duramale

        This is really amazing piece of information… I really like your stuff.

  • http://www.richardfelstead.com Richard Felstead

    I agree with Alex. There may be problems with Yahoo/Bing, but there absolutely must be a rival to Google.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Bing is certainly doing plenty of things, especially with Facebook, that could trump things that Google will do without Facebook data.

  • http://www.urbaninsuranceagency.com Larry Lubell

    As a company that advertises ONLINE, I welcome a bit of competition to Google’s hold on search.
    Here at “Urban Auto Insurance” we have found that the Keywords were want to buy require we bid $7 to $15 per click- That price is insane; so any other real choice would be good.

  • http://www.rickgrossman-blog.com Allan Steinberg

    The figures are misleading as the “new guy” on the block will most often show an initial surge. Users want to try something new but it does not mean that they will stay.

  • http://www.comprarsky.com.br David Coimbra

    I’m very excited with the results realized from the investment in Yahoo / Bing, my sales have increased and have had many positive results. I thank all of the Yahoo / Bing the fine job…

  • Terry Jackson

    It has been very poor on our end. We see clicks, clicks, clicks but no returns, no calls, no emails, no one says we found you on Yahoo/Bing. It is not like it used to be when it was just Yahoo years ago. I don’t know what works. I’ve tried different keywords, different phrases, updated landing pages, etc. And now, just today (3/24/11) at 1:24pm CST, the portal is down, and you can’t even get in to see what is going on, and they have no ETA as to when it will be up again. It’s very bad.

    With that said, we do need something else to work. Google used to be fun, friendly and bring great customers for a good buck. Now, it is next to outrageous the amount of money you spend on clicks and the ROI, has sincerely dropped. Ever since last October 2010, when they messed up everything, nothing has been the same. CTR’s suffer, poor keyword quality scores, and the list goes on………..we need help!

  • http://prisoninmatepenpal.com Wayne Ouellette

    While someone needs to slay the google dragon, Yahoo and Bing need to work hard to preserve current relationships or they will be eaten.

  • http://investauthority.com/ InvestAuthority

    Good, considering Facebook will be a new search marketing company entering the arena. Facebook is the one to be worried about. It will take companies like Yahoo/Microsoft to keep them in check.

  • http://www.coldoneinc.com Rob Goodwin

    Not that search advertising on Google is ‘great’ because it is not, but Yahoo!/Microsoft/Bing are by comparison significantly more expensive, less reliable, less consistent, and based upon our financial experiences with both over the last 6 years have paused all Yahoo! search advertising.

    We sell a product we manufacture. We use similar keywords and ad content on both platforms. Over the history, Yahoo! was the clear winner in 2009 for number of conversions and conversion cost.

    For example, for the 6 months from 5/09-10/09 our spend was $3,500, our conversions were about 300 @ $13.00 per conversion.

    For the 6 months from 11/09-4/10 our spend was $3,000, our conversion were about 30 @ over $100.00 per conversion.

    We verified that the tracking codes were correct to make sure conversions were being reported correctly as in our testing found that conversions were being recorded.

    The Yahoo!/Microsoft paid search must be operating under different algorithms than previously. I spoke with them and followed advice on changes to campaigns which resulted in increased cost, no additional conversions, and a waste of time. I was ignorant in expecting Yahoo! staff’s recommendations to be worthwhile. It was a huge financial and time waste.

    I periodically resume a couple of campaigns to observe current status and it seems not to change for better or worse.

    Google, meanwhile is running about $1,500 per month with 30-40 conversions @ approx. $27.00 each. The conversion cost is higher than we would like but it is consistent and we work to bring it down.

    In 2008-2009 our ad search spend was in excess of $4,000 per month and was generally cost effective.

    In 2011 our ad search spend is capped at $2,000 and is cost effective, but a requires much more time to maintain campaigns as the metrics seem to be constantly changing.

  • http://pokerseoinabox.com Jason

    I’ve seen great positioning for some of my keywords on Bing / Yahoo but so far haven’t really seen a huge spike in traffic that came from “bing search.” I think Bing will have to network itself with a few of the popular open sourced internet browsers (Firefox / Seamonkey) out there to start having a real impact on search traffic and Google’s stranglehold on the market place.

  • http://UseBiz.com Jeff Schneider


    The timing is right for us to come to the party. People are looking for a SMARTER Search alternative that supports Small Business Owners interests. We have a superior Business Model to theirs and when the timing is right we will enter with a splash. Stay Tuned !

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  • http://www.davisframe.com Molly

    Someone mentioned that they are not seeing a return on their pay per click advertising. From my research and what I have heard, pay per click advertising isn’t as effective anymore. More people are choosing results that come up “organically.” A lot of users are not even clicking on results that result from pay per click advertising, they are choosing the organically ranked websites. I think pay per click is dying. I know my company does not rely on it anymore, we were receiving junky leads from pay per click. We are receiving less leads a day, but they are more qualified.

  • http://www.eyt.ca/ Eric

    I’ve advertised on Yahoo, Bing, and Google, and while I’ve heard people say that Bing has been awesome for them, my campaigns have never gotten any traction from them. The same campaigns on Yahoo were doing awesome, getting great traffic, and since the move to Bing, I see almost nothing from both of them. I’ve even reached out to Bing and while they made some changes, it didn’t change anything.

    But that said, we rank really nicely on many keywords in Bing and see very little traffic from them. Not sure why.

    And related to this their UI for managing campaigns. The web UI is horribly slow and clunky (and was down earlier today?) and the Windows app is huge and has a worst UI than the Google AdWords download (which I think is horrible). It would make creating ads so much easier if this was seamless and easier to change.

    Just my two cents…

  • http://www.herbal-health-review.com Herbal Health Review

    I think this article came at the right time for me. I was considering making a try at the yahoo adverts. If long term partners experience what you wrote about, I might as well reconsider.

  • http://www.freemoneymakingvideos.com Money Making Video Course

    Google has become impossible to deal with. I am not using Adwords but I had Adsense on some of my sites. Few days ago, they issued me a warning saying tthat I am not complying with their policies and have three days to make changes. I deleted the Adsense codes from all of my sites. Yahoo and Bing need to step up and end Google’s dominance.

  • http://about.me/badunderdog48 erakhearnib

    Seo wants a very good search engine optimizer plan. Just one in all these strategies could make an enormous distinction in your sites place and company your website brings you.
    What i discover difficult is to discover a blog that can seize me for a minute but your blog is different. Bravo.
    Highly rated post. I learn something totally new on different blogs everyday. Deciding on one . stimulating to read the paper content from other writers and learn a little bit something from their website. I’d like to use certain of this content on my blog you’re mind. Natually I’ll give a hyperlink here we are at your internet-site. Recognize your sharing.

  • http://www.rickgrossman.com Rick Grossman

    I most often like to cheer for the underdog but the suggestion of putting Microsoft in that position makes it very difficult.

  • http://www.no-win-no-fees-lawyers.com Personal Injury Claim

    I think if anyone will knock google off its porch itle be bing…because its new to the public with its marketing awarness campaign and i think it will either be a hit or a miss….they just better live up to the demands of the public otherwise they will quickly go downhill like all other search engines.

  • http://www.webartistuk.com/ Proffessional Web Designers

    I used yahoo, ask jeeves and numerouse other search engines, and do you know why i stick with google? because everytime i dont find what im looking for on other search engines, i usually find it when i use google, and i think thats why google will always be top. Unless bing can provide the same sources as google, i dont see it taking over the market.

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  • http://www.mypurplebutterfly.net Purple’S Theory

    I don’t use yahoo at all for search and lately even the yahoobuzz has been bad. codes not working very frustrating. I admire people like yourself who go the extra mile to write techie stuff and stats. good job.

  • http://www.radiofence.com/ Larry Volwiler

    We had been an advertiser since day one. After the switch, our CPC went up and our conversions went down. Our CPA with them was triple what it is with Google.

    On top of that, their merchant interface sucks! It’s slow, hard to use and you can’t even down load your billing details. We dumped them after a few months and will never go back.

  • http://ejakulasi-dini.mywapblog.com/javahostindo-web-hosting-indonesia.xhtml javahostindo web hosting Indonesia

    I feel pay per click is one of method to build our brand in internet, but it is not eficient when comparing money back efffect. So,.. we should change our strategy in order to achieve income with best natural searching visitor.

  • http://www.ecoselectwindows.com Windows Seattle

    I hope Bing continues to grow and gives Google a run for there money. It’s never fun when someone is always dominating the market there in.

  • http://www.seowebexpert.co.uk SEO UK

    Bing is definitely providing better quality results, but on the whole, it’s way behind Google. I just wish that Bing would get much better and provide some real competition to Google’s search monopoly.

  • http://www.hedgehogdigital.co.uk/ SEO Bedford

    Looks like Microsoft shot itself on the foot here. What keep partners happy is their revenue cut that and you know what will happen, I’d say Microsoft should’ve known that by now!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-find-the-right-web-designer Aidan

    Id quite like to see bing, yahoo or any other search engine become as popular as google, as much as ive always relied on google id quite like to see what lengths they would take if say bing became the no1 SE

  • http://specialbacklinks.com link building services

    I don’t see yahoo or bing dominating in the very near future however bing is on the rise. maybe yahoo and bing together can give google some hard competition. it’s a good idea to always optimize your website for different search engines and not only for google, you never know what will happen.

  • http://veryniceshop.com tom green

    I do agree that google sometimes abuse their power however I don’t see yahoo and bing dominating over google.
    It’s a bit hard to predict though, I used to think nothing will take down myspace but then facebook happened, so maybe yahoo+bing will overtake google.

  • http://truefoodsmarket.com Jason Thomas

    Looks like the demise of google has once again been greatly overstated. I have some terms I rank 8-10 for on Google and #1 on binghoo and my traffic from google is 25-30x higher. Maybe one of these years…

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