The long-awaited Microsoft/Yahoo! (or Microhoo!) search merge is almost upon us, and online advertising could find itself on the verge of a change. The integration of Yahoo!’s search facilities with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and AdCentre will give the companies a solid footing in the search arena, delivering the first credible threat to Google’s search ad monopoly. All going to plan,Yahoo! search could be entirely powered by Bing as early as September 2010.
Microsoft has already announced a few imminent updates to Bing, as it prepares to take on Yahoo!’s substantial user base. Visitors to Microsoft’s AdWords rival AdCenter will notice new performance and editorial dashboards on the site, while a new import process will be rolled out to improve negative keyword usability and allow advertisers to exclude search partners. Bing also plans to adopt Yahoo!’s existing domain blocking tool, for added security.
The two companies will be hoping to pose a threat to market leader Google, which continues to control the vast majority of online searches. Do bear in mind though that even with a recent rise in Bing traffic, Yahoo! and Bing combined currently amount to only 25%* of the search market. Google still attracts a clear majority of users with 71.65%* of all (US) queries placed through its search engine in June 2010.
*This data is from Hitwise and is based on four-week rolling periods (ending 29th May 2010 and June 26th 2010, from a sample of 10million USA internet users.
Steps to Prepare for the new Microsoft/Yahoo! search facility
- Keep an eye on the Microsoft/Yahoo! ‘search alliance’ page, which helps users keep track of ongoing developments. Search Scientist will also update on major breakthroughs.
- Prepare for a potential CPC increase as more advertisers are likely to move to the merged AdCentre and competition competition will increase.
- Look at the historical data from your Yahoo! and MSN performance reports to establish a baseline and help to predict merger effects on your advertising.
- If you have an AdWords account, and are interested in trying Microsoft/Yahoo! advertising – you can copy your AdWords account over using AdWords Editor (instructions linked)
- You may need to make some changes to your account such as adding negative keywords; adjusting geo-targeted locations; adjusting budgets and bids; and changing your ad texts and keywords depending on character limits and available traffic.
- Microsoft AdCentre titles only allow 25 characters, where Yahoo! has a 40-character title limit. Additionally, Yahoo! ad description lines are allowed 71 characters, where the AdCentre allows 70. We recommend revising your ad texts to meet AdCentre character limits now.
Rumours of a Microsoft/Yahoo! merger began as early as 2005, with Yahoo! fighting a hostile takeover from Microsoft in April 2008. In July 2009, the companies agreed to a 10-year deal which will see Microsoft providing its search technology to Yahoo! websites, while Yahoo! sells search ads for both companies. The merger won EU and US regulatory approval earlier this year, and global integration is expected to complete in 2012.
Do you think that the integration of Yahoo! search into the Microsoft AdCentre will be a success? Will you advertise with Microhoo! ?