Preparing your Paid Search for the Yahoo/Microsoft Deal

This week, regulators in the United States and Europe approved the deal between Yahoo! and Microsoft. If you aren’t aware, Yahoo will soon get out of the search engine business to concentrate on their other cash centers. Instead, they will display Microsoft’s search results. Revenue will be shared between them, with Yahoo! doing the bulk of the consumer relations and new business acquisition for paid search.

If you’re running search campaigns on both, you’re going to have to get ready to scale down to a single one. I called Yahoo! and Microsoft this week to find out what this is going to entail.

Yeah. That just about sums it all up.

Get used to Microsoft AdCenter

By the end of 2010, Yahoo! will start migrating their clients’ campaigns over to Microsoft’s AdCenter. They don’t expect to have every campaign moved until Q1 2011. This means if you aren’t familiar with MS AdCenter yet, you need to start working with it. The good news here is that it is a LOT easier to use than the Yahoo! interface. That’s not really saying much, mind you – sneaking a grown cat onto a plane in your underwear is easier than the Yahoo! interface.

Don’t give up on Yahoo! yet

Personally, I haven’t seen a great deal of search traffic coming from Microsoft’s accounts, and Yahoo! still delivers. So why is Yahoo! selling? I have to guess paid search isn’t giving them as great an income as everything else is – but as an end user, Yahoo! search is just more productive.

So you need to start advertising with Microsoft soon if just to get used to it – but it won’t take up a very large part of your budget. Yahoo! will likely bring you more traffic for the immediate future. But when your campaign is switched, and suddenly you’re on both, the Microsoft traffic is going to jump incredibly.

Google is still King

I always throw this in, because it’s true, and people forget it: Microsoft is still third to Google, and the only thing they’ve done to change that is buy the guy in second place. If you want to know how the Big 3 ranked, comScore’s June 2009 report breaks down the market share of each. Microsoft’s market share was only twice of Ask.com’s. And they’re Ask.com! The only people who use Ask are Theodore Kaczynski and about 15 other guys who hate technology.

My point is, if you have a limited budget, don’t listen to the hype surrounding Bing. It isn’t there yet, and there’s nothing to suggest it will get there soon. Stick with Google for the time being. Remember, with paid search, you can get on the front page of a search engine’s results inside of 10 minutes if you need to. It’s not like natural search, where the work you do can take months to do you some good.

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