What the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance Means to PPC Advertisers

Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance

by John A. Lee, Search Marketing Manager

It’s official. Yahoo! and Microsoft’s proposed search partnership has received regulatory approval for both the US and Europe, and it has been given a name: The Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance. If you hadn’t guessed already, this is big news!

The “Alliance” has major ramifications for the search engine marketing community. Nearly all of Yahoo!’s search technology will be absorbed by Microsoft with PPC and organic search results being generated by the Bing engine. SEOs the world over will be scrambling to determine how this will affect keyword rankings and organic traffic. For all of us PPC folks, this means that advertising for Yahoo!/Bing will now happen in Microsoft adCenter. How will this affect PPC advertisers?

  • It is no secret that the YSM (Yahoo! Search Marketing) interface is severely lacking. It is clunky. It is missing time saving features. Oh, and their long-awaited desktop application is actually more frustrating to me than using an Excel spreadsheet! Targeting Yahoo! searchers through Microsoft adCenter will make things considerably easier. My long-term hope is that simplified PPC management will lead to more responsive management activities that end with increased conversions from Yahoo! searchers (and Bing, too, of course).
  • Microsoft adCenter has been the 3rd wheel in terms of search volume and PPC performance so there has been typically less competition on Bing. That being said, CPCs tend to be lower on Bing which leads to lower CPAs. The “Alliance” will likely introduce a fresh wave of  PPC advertisers to Microsoft/Bing who have previously only used Google AdWords and YSM. More advertisers means increased competition, which in turn means higher CPCs. My only hope is that if CPCs increase, so will the volume of active searchers and click activity.
  • The big picture questions here are how the “Alliance” will affect the search community as a whole. Will this drive innovation in tools and features with healthy competition from Google? Will searchers understand the change or will it turn them away and back to Google? Will advertisers understand the change or will it turn them back to Google AdWords? Will the “Alliance” actually be an improvement?

The good news is that searchers and advertisers alike will have several months to prepare for these changes. According to the official statements made today, the Yahoo! and Microsoft Alliance will officially roll out to US advertisers in advance of the 2010 holiday shopping season. European Union advertisers will have to wait until sometime in 2011. Be sure to check out searchalliance.com for official announcements and additional details straight from the “Alliance.”

Leave me a comment and let me know how you feel the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance will affect you and your PPC campaigns!