Yahoo! and Microsoft Gain Ground on Google With Increased Share of Paid Clicks; Ad Environment Favorable

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Marin Software unveils key research showing that the Search Alliance increased its share of paid-search impressions and clicks, while reducing overall costs for advertisers


Marin Software, the leading paid search marketing platform provider, and Razorfish, one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world and a division of the Publicis Groupe, today unveiled the results of an exclusive study conducted to analyze the impact of the Search Alliance on paid search campaign performance.

Background & Methodology:

  •     On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced the Search Alliance, a groundbreaking partnership wherein Microsoft would power search results and sponsored ads for Yahoo! Search. In North America, the transition to the Search Alliance occurred during October 2010. Close as it was to the holiday season, advertisers worried about its potential impact on their business. Beyond the immediate impact, advertisers also wanted to understand how this new marketplace would perform relative to Google.
  •     To gauge the Search Alliance’s impact, Marin evaluated several key metrics from the Marin Global Search Index, which includes over 800 clients collectively managing more than $1.8 billion in annual paid search spend.
  •     The study evaluated the performance of North American advertisers between August and December 2010. To factor out the effects of seasonality, key performance indicators were normalized against industry averages, using Google as the benchmark for the search industry. We also interviewed leading advertisers to gain qualitative, industry-specific insights.

Key Findings:

  •     Post transition, the Search Alliance is gaining ground on Google. Specifically, the Search Alliance increased its share of paid search impressions by 4% and its share of clicks by 2%, while Google’s share was reduced by the same percentage.
  •     The Search Alliance has resulted in improved traffic quality for advertisers, as evidenced by higher conversion rates. Excluding the impact of seasonality, conversion rates for the Search Alliance increased by 12% during the study period.
  •     Increased conversion rates and lower costs-per-click delivered improved return on advertising spend (ROAS) following the transition. Costs-per-click (CPC) for the Search Alliance ended the year 20% below industry benchmarks, resulting in significantly lower cost-per-acquisition for advertisers.
  •     In addition to benefiting advertisers, the Search Alliance also has considerable upside potential for both Yahoo! and Microsoft. As of December 2010, the Search Alliance was delivering 21% of paid search clicks, but only capturing 18% of the corresponding ad spend in the North American market. As advertisers migrate to the new combined platform and the unified marketplace becomes more efficient, the Search Alliance has the potential to capture an additional 3% in advertising spend share – amounting to hundreds of millions in incremental media dollars.

Quotes:
“With continued growth in the paid search market, Yahoo! and Bing will become increasingly important channels for advertisers seeking incremental traffic and revenues,” said Chris Lien, co-founder and CEO at Marin Software. “The Search Alliance is paying healthy dividends for the advertisers who had the foresight to build out and optimize campaigns prior to the transition. Given the favorable market conditions in place today, we expect more media dollars to flow towards Yahoo! and Bing as advertisers increasingly adopt the unified platform.”

“As Razorfish had predicted, the Search Alliance had minimal impact on our clients’ search campaigns,” said Joshua Palau, Vice President of Search at Razorfish. “We are now predicting the Alliance will lead to more competition, driving innovation in search once again. In fact, December figures for Bing are already up 5%, and we foresee advertisers will benefit from these changes in the long term.”

Resources:

About Marin Software:
Marin Software is the leading provider of enterprise-class paid search management applications worldwide. The company's flagship product, Marin Search Marketer® is designed to address the workflow, analysis, and optimization needs of large scale advertisers and agencies, saving time and improving financial performance. Marin Software has over 800 customers and its technology is used globally to manage more than $1.8 billion of annual search spend. Leading advertisers and agencies using Marin Software include Razorfish, Neo@Ogilvy, University of Phoenix, Macy's, KAYAK, PriceGrabber, and Reply.

About Razorfish:
Razorfish creates experiences that build businesses. As one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world, Razorfish helps its clients build better brands by delivering business results through customer experiences. Razorfish combines the best thought leadership of the consulting world with the leading capabilities of the marketing services industry to support our clients’ business needs, such as launching new products, repositioning a brand or participating in the social world.

With a demonstrated commitment to innovation, Razorfish continues to cultivate our expertise in Social Influence Marketing, emerging media, creative design, analytics, technology and user experience. Razorfish has offices in markets across the United States, and in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom. Clients include Carnival Cruise Lines, MillerCoors, Levi Strauss & Co., McDonald's and Starwood Hotels. Razorfish is part of the Publicis Groupe VivaKi organization. For more information, visit: http://www.razorfish.com

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Kari Moe Straley
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