How the Yahoo-Microsoft deal will affect SME paid search campaigns

Yesterday the news hit that Yahoo and Microsoft have finally agreed and signed a 10 year deal.  This deal will see Microsoft Bing powering Yahoo Search, and adCenter becoming the platform for running paid search campaigns.  Amidst all the hype, speculation and plummeting share prices from Yahoo, how will this deal affect SME’s currently using Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter?  In this post we will seek to answer some of these questions, and simplify the jargon.

When will this happen?
Don’t worry; you won’t need to make any changes immediately.  The combined Microsoft-Yahoo search engine could take up to two years to roll out.  Transition of Yahoo Search Marketing (Panama) and adCenter accounts will take up to 12 months.  The email address listed in the account will be emailed with details of the transition.

Will there be effects to campaign performance?
As your ads will be shown on far more sites/search results your clicks and costs will increase.  This will be particularly noticeable if you are running ads only on Yahoo! or only on adCenter campaign at present (not both).

If you are currently running an adCenter campaign it is likely that your ROI from it may reduce.  adCenter advertisers have long enjoyed the low costs and high ROI that has come from a general lack of competition on Bing.  With the increased search volume and advertiser competition that will come from the Yahoo-Microsoft deal, it is possible that CPCs (cost per click) could rise.  However, I have heard from other industry peeps that CPCs could reduce.  As ever it is going to be important to run good quality, best practice campaigns targeting the correct audience.  Following this strategy and “playing by the best practice rules” will ensure your CPC is as low as possible and you are making as high a ROI as possible.

I’ve never used adCenter before
Again, don’t worry!  Whilst the adCenter interface is certainly no “Google”, it follows many of Google’s basic navigation and editorial features/functions.  Almost all paid search industry folks that I speak to prefer the adCenter interface over the Yahoo interface.  So this really is the best choice of interface.  With adCenter you also get lots of excellent intelligence tools to target your ads to the correct audience at the right time (trend data, etc).  If you use Google and/or Yahoo already you will be equipped with a lot of the necessary transferable skills to start using adCenter without too much trauma!  However, for a bit more information visit the adExcellence Classroom.

What are the benefits to advertisers?

1. Easier and more effective campaign management.  Managing two interfaces (Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter) instead of three will lead to time saving, more effective optimisation and happier advertisers.

2. More traffic!  In general adCenter is a great platform with good tools; the only downside has been Bing’s very poor search volume.

3. A competitor to Google.  This deal is in no way going to remove Google from its number #1 spot.  Search share for Google is close to 75%, while the Yahoo-Microsoft deal will only result in a combined 21% share.  However, the new entity will certainly be a competitor (albeit comparatively small).  This is great for advertisers as it is more likely to keep Google grounded and ensure fair competition in the industry.

4. The adCenter interface is better than Panama and will produce better results.  Yes, that is my opinion, I am sorry Yahoo!, but I find Panama clunky, difficult to navigate, dated (already!) and not open to advertiser feedback.  Where were your offline tools?  Where were your intelligence tools?  adCenter’s tools and interface is so much easier and more enjoyable to use that most advertisers (I’m sure) will get better results than on Yahoo Panama.

Self-service vs. Premium advertisers. What am I?
Self-serve advertisers will use adCenter directly.  Premium advertisers will work with Yahoo’s sales team.  Self-serve clients will tend to be those with smaller budgets.  Premium advertisers are agencies and those with medium to large size budgets.  The likelihood is that if you run a Paid Search campaign in-house with a £20 daily budget (for example) you will be self-serve.

Will there be any impact on my Google campaigns?

As Yahoo-Microsoft will only occupy approx 21% search share, there will not be enough “competition” or risk to Google to lower its click charges, therefore I doubt there would be any significant changes to your campaign performance on Google.

I would, however, expect some response or change from Google to ensure that they remain number #1.  This is, again, unlikely to have significant effects on campaign performance.

Can I choose to show/not show ads on Yahoo or MSN?

No unfortunately you will not be able to do this.  In a nutshell, the big bods believe that an option of this nature would limit distribution.  Therefore if you run ads on Yahoo but not Bing (or vice versa) you will most probably have to increase your budget or cull certain terms to ensure all day visibility.

This agreement is a major event in online advertising, and will shake up the whole industry.  I am very much looking forward to seeing how everything pans out!

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