After the Transition: How to Get the Most Out of Bing/Yahoo

Beginning in mid-July, Yahoo and Bing began the transition of their systems and completed the transition last week. There are some interesting data points regarding Yahoo and Bing which marketers should understand as they manage their campaigns in the fourth quarter:

  • Historically, Bing has proven to have higher ROI than Yahoo, driven by similar CPCs but higher conversion rates.
  • Google now stands at more than 80 percent of PPC ad spend in the U.S., up nearly two percentage points from just last quarter, and taking the most dominant market share lead since SearchIgnite began tracking spend share among the engines (2007). Yahoo/Bing will need to work hard to reverse this momentum.
  • Paid search spend in Q3 increased 5.8 percent year-over-year compared with flat growth a year ago and exhibited positive momentum month-over-month, with July growing 4.9 percent, August 5.8 percent, and September 6.7 percent. The growth throughout the quarter bodes well for a strong Q4.

Search Alliance Numbers: Troubling Trend?

Although we saw some encouraging performance numbers from the combined platform during the initial stages of the transition, these have regressed a bit. If you look at overall performance of Yahoo and Bing separately before the transition and combined for the first week after the transition, we see the following trends:

  • The average eCPM differential (SearchIgnite’s measure of effective cost per thousand impressions) between Yahoo/Bing and Google has increased from -5.33 to -6.19, reflecting a 14 percent decline in the relative efficiency of turning impressions into dollars. This is mostly due to a decline in relative CPCs.
  • Impression share has dropped on the combined platform from 29.6 percent to 25.3 percent, resulting in less relative money being spent on the combined platform (21.9 percent to 17.5 percent).

While it’s too early to give more meaningful statistical insights on performance, the trend doesn’t bode well for the Yahoo/Bing search alliance. The gains by Google could be caused by the uncertainty of the transition, so the fourth quarter will be especially important for the search alliance and for search marketers.

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