Yesterday, Microsoft and Yahoo announced that they’ve been cleared to move forward with their much anticipated search partnership, which was initially declared in July. Since the engines now have received “unrestricted” clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission to implement the deal, we’ve revisited our earlier POV and highlighted some of key areas for digital marketers to focus on in the months leading up to complete, full-scale implementation.
The most obvious impact on marketers is that there will now be two major places to buy search advertising, down from the previous three. And with more scale now aggregated within the next biggest search marketplace to Google, the partnership should ideally build efficiency in search advertising and also enable marketers to take better advantage of Bing’s traffic. Since Google volume is so much greater than either Yahoo or Bing, it enjoys proportionally greater attention from search marketers. This unified marketplace will grant Microsoft and Yahoo! a better chance to compete with Google due to their combined scale.
In this new marketplace advertisers will be able to select traffic from Bing and Yahoo! rather than the full affiliate network, but will not be permitted to select traffic exclusively from one engine or the other. Thus, the impending unified marketplace raises new unknowns that could potentially pose serious ramifications for digital marketers.
Currently, 360i sees vastly different results across Yahoo! and Bing search campaigns. These discrepancies have led us to approach and consider both engines differently when we optimize a marketer’s paid search program. A unified marketplace that does not allow advertisers to select only one engine or that does not provide complete transparency into the results by engine would severely limit this opportunity to maximize returns and optimize ROI. The integration of Yahoo! and Bing within one platform in this case could very well change the way we manage each to obtain maximum results – though we won’t know for sure, or by how much, until more details emerge.