A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Micro-Hoo! Good for advertisers, not for users?

July 29th, 2009

So the announcement was finally made this morning that Microsoft Bing will now power Yahoo search for 10 years!  You can read the details here and read Danny’s notes on the conference call and Q&A here.

This is good news for advertisers!

Let’s face it.  We all start our search campaigns at Google AdWords.  They own by far the majority of all searches.  We fine tune them, our competitors start bidding like idiots and it drives our prices up.  We’re forced to do the things we should do like A/B test ads, landing pages, etc.

We do all this because we want to be the best we can be on Google to get the best price.

Do we advertise on Yahoo and Microsoft?  It depends on if we have the time, energy, and desire.  Each had a small piece of the pie.  So even if we did eventually move to Yahoo and/or Microsoft, it was always later.

For myself personally, I would simply copy what worked in Google.  It wasn’t worth much else.  Microsoft and Yahoo were just too small to care much about.

Now there will be one tool (MS AdCenter) to get on both.  I know I’ll be jumping in a lot quicker now.  MS has always had good ROI for several of our clients and Yahoo wasn’t bad either.

If I can now advertise all in one tool (for both Bing and Yahoo search), I’m more likely to do so and to improve it.

Great news for us as advertisers.  Hooray!

What about users?

The news might not be quite as good here.  If you search at Yahoo or search at Bing, will you get the exact same results?  Probably. 

If you can’t find what you want at Google or Yahoo/Bing, where do you go next?  Nowhere really.  Maybe Ask?  Twitter?

However, the truth is that when you search on Google now and don’t find what do you want, what do you do?  Honestly?

You go back to the search box and type in different (or longer) phrases.  Market research shows that very few people switch engines.

So I guess it’s not that big of a deal after all.


The bottom line?  It’s great news for us.  I’m sure it’s great news for Microsoft.  (We’ll see over time if it’s great news for Yahoo.)

For my clients and students, I’ll be in touch regarding what this will mean specifically for you as more details come out.

  • Jon

    Corey – good thoughts here. I agree that its better for advertisers – I too will jump on much more quickly. I’ve never bothered with MSN AdCenter b/c it was just too small to justify the time for setting it up and managing it separately. Now together with Yahoo its worthwhile.

    For users, you mentioned that people will see the same results at both search engines. I don’t think that’s a big deal, b/c I don’t think “average user” will ever notice this. In fact, I don’t think “average user” will even know the two are partnered. We’re wrapped up in this industry so its huge news for us, but considering that half of young adults can’t locate New York state on a map, and 30% can’t tell you where China is, I think this bit of knowledge might slip through the cracks.

    The search technology and actual quality of the search results I think is (unfortunately) not the important thing here. Its the brand. Its the audience. My mom doesn’t use Yahoo b/c she’s done personal research and found it to provide her with the most relevant results. She uses Yahoo b/c she has a Yahoo email address that I set up for here 8 years ago before Gmail, and so since she’s already on Yahoo’s site its just easier and faster to use their search engines. I think that’s where the value here is for these guys.

  • Yes. We did do some Yahoo and Microsoft PPC for our bigger and long-standing clients. But not until the AdWords worked really well. Regarding branding, this may also be a big score for MS. One of Google’s greatest strengths has been that they got the “geeks” and “techies” on their side early. Every techie told their family to use Google. That tide may turn now. This is big press. It will be all over the major news agencies. The non-techies may start some Word Of Mouth marketing. “Hey! Bing isn’t bad. I started using it since I saw the commercial” or “I started using Yahoo again since I heard they are working with Microsoft. It’s not bad.”

  • Will there be a way to migrate YSM to MSN Adcenter? Or is there already a way to migrate what works from Adwords over to Adcenter?

  • The whole thing will take months or maybe even a year or two before we see any real changes happening. I’m sure there will be options for that type of thing, for sure.

  • I agree that this is great news for advertisers, but I am not so sure that they will pick up market share from consumer word of mouth based on MS getting involved with Yahoo. MS gets a pretty bad wrap with most people, regardless of the quality of the product they product.

    Where I see this benefiting consumers is with MS’s near limitless budget. They can simply buy market share – which they are basically doing with the Bing cash back deal. There is no way that Yahoo could have ever afforded to do anything like that and some of the deals are pretty amazing. By using Bing a couple of weeks ago, you could have gotten an iPhone 3G for about $70. Those kinds of deals get people talking and that will drive the traffic they are looking for.

    I don’t think that Google is quaking in their boots just yet, but this could be the first real competition Google has had.