#1 – More TrafficYahoo and Bing combine for almost 4 & 1/2 billion searches per month and a 29% market share of search in the US.
#2 – Diversification lowers your riskOver-reliance on a traffic source is dangerous to your business and health. I’ve seen businesses go down the chute because their dealflow was tied up in a #1 ranking on Google or Google adwords account. When the ranking dropped to #5 or the rules of using Google’s ad platform changed, their business suffered. Google is the 800 lb gorilla in the market and they know it – their systems are designed to maximize profitability, not provide fairness. They take on countries like China… and will probably win over the long-haul. Google also makes 97% of its money from the top 3% of its advertisers. Unless you are in that top 3%, you must prove your ability to advertise with Google, and pay a premium price to do so. There is a list of written rules, and a list of “secret/hidden” rules. You get transparency about the hidden rules if you are in the top 3% (think a million per year ad spend minimum). Even then, advice I’ve received from reps in the past were cryptic (or inaccurate) at best.
#3 – Save timeWhile Yahoo and Bing had methods to import campaigns between each other in the past, it was generally a pain. Change ads in an account or keywords in another and the administrative time started to take it’s toll. For B2B clients, Bing or Yahoo by themselves just weren’t worth it to fool with in light of the administrative budget available. Now clients have greater economy of scale and can enjoy a well-optimized ad campaign at a quality traffic source.
#4 – Simple reporting and trackingYahoo and Bing were comparable in their tracking. Again, the setup time added incremental effort, plus time spent noodling through reports. Now we have one place to look, and one place to direct requests like “What if you had a report to show conversion rates by hour of the day”?
#5 – Better control over your keywordsYahoo had exact match, and “advanced match”. This is similar to Google’s broad match, yet slightly less advanced. I won’t even try to explain how advanced match worked to match your keywords with what the user searched for – we barely understood it 😉 Yahoo even had rather tight limitations on the amount of negative keywords you could use to prune unwanted searches. Bing overcomes this with the same 3 options as Google – Broad, Phrase, and Exact. Phrase match is an absolute gem for B2B markets where exact match just doesn’t yield enough searches to be fruitful, but the search engines don’t know enough about the market to do a good job with broad match.
#6 – Adcenter Desktop EditorThis is much better than Yahoo’s beta desktop editor most account holders didn’t get to try. The adcenter editor is pretty useful and much easier than going through the web interface. It still pales in comparison to the Google adwords editor though and has its quirks. Which brings us to the next point.
#7 – Innovative ads and toolsHopefully the combined resources of Yahoo and Microsoft will get us innovative features for administration, reporting, and even types of ads. (Perhaps even that updated desktop editor) This may even spur Google on to produce more value for their advertisers.
#8 – Cheaper traffic?This one isn’t a guarantee, but until the rest of the world catches up to the Bing/Yahoo merger, you can take advantage of cheaper clicks. Why cheaper? Remember we said Bing often had too little traffic to be worth it for companies with limited manpower or those who used agencies to manage their ad spend. This resulted in intense competition on Google, moderate competition on Yahoo, and a relative void on Bing. Not every Yahoo advertiser has jumped on the transition yet. In our experience the costs are 10-25% cheaper on Bing for moderately competitive terms, and none of the mysterious rules like Google.
So sign up for Microsoft Adcenter and enjoy access to these new traffic sources – You’re mostly looking at USA, Canada, UK, Singapore and France but hopefully we’ll see more traffic flow in their direction in 2011. Competition is necessary and beneficial to all parties involved.