Thoughts On The Yahoo/Microsoft SEM Deal

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Yahoo/Microsoft online advertising deal. Yahoo search is history, replaced by Bing. Yahoo PPC accounts will be merged into MSN AdCenter, except for display and content advertising, which will remain independent to each company.

So what does this mean to us PPC folks? Obviously, the usual online advertising triumvirate of Google, Yahoo, and MSN PPC advertising accounts is gone. Those of us who bothered to deal with MSN AdCenter are rejoicing, since we might actually start to get traffic in our accounts. Also, I get to stop complaining about how much Yahoo search marketing’s user interface sucks.

All kidding aside, this is a huge development. Google is still going to be the king of paid search, but combining Yahoo search traffic with Bing search traffic (which seems to be picking up, thanks to Microsoft’s PR blitz for their new tool) will offer a bigger chunk of the search market than we’ve seen with the respective traffic numbers of Yahoo or Bing alone. This could mean a big influx of advertisers to the MSN AdCenter platform. It also could be the end of good cost-per-conversion in your MSN account, now that there might actually be some serious advertiser competition on there.

This deal also benefits advertisers thanks to MSN’s superior account management tools, like their AdCenter desktop client. I’ve been promised a Yahoo desktop app for at least a year now, but I’ve yet to see it. Obviously, that’s out the window entirely. With AdCenter benefiting from the influx of Yahoo traffic, and Yahoo accounts getting the benefit of decent account management tools, it’s going to be easier to manage larger accounts in the new, combined platform. This means increased competition, but potentially better results from your Yahoo traffic.

What I’m most concerned about is how users will react to this. Are there really any true fans of Yahoo search out there? Will they be disgusted with the merger and make the switch to Google search? Or will there be a smooth migration of Yahoo traffic over to Bing? We have until early 2010 until the deal really goes into effect, so that’s a lot of time for Microsoft to ramp up their Bing PR campaign, and a lot of time for us marketers to mull over how this will affect our accounts.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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