Derek Gordon wrote an excellent piece on Monday regarding the latest communication from Yahoo and Bing about their pending search integration. The Yahoo-Bing search alliance is moving ahead with full head of steam and we are starting to see some significant Bing click volume from Yahoo search pages. It's not too early for marketers to start monitoring these results, assessing the impact on their Bing campaigns and making appropriate adjustments to their paid search campaigns.
After seeing a trickle of Bing clicks coming in from Yahoo search result pages in early July, we have seen this percentage increase dramatically since July 21, with rates ranging from up 6%-9% in late July, increasing up to 15% for some clients in August. Whether you are ready or not, Bing impression volume is increasing significantly and accordingly Yahoo search clicks are already being blended into your Bing reporting numbers. Prior to July 21, we have seen the average click-through rate on Yahoo keywords to be about 1.2% and the click-through rate on Bing keywords to be more than double, at 2.5%. This suggests that Yahoo impressions are either less valuable than Bing impressions, Bing does a better job at monetizing their search results pages, or both.
As Bing mixes in more Yahoo inventory, its click-through rate should drop accordingly. Yahoo currently shows about 4.5 times the number of impressions than Bing. Everything being equal, when Bing fully integrates Yahoo inventory into its platform the number of impressions it deliver should increase by 4.5x but its click-through rate should drop from 2.5% to 1.4%. This would have a significant impact on campaign planning and optimization.
So far, though, we haven't seen any significant drop in Bing click-through rates or conversion rates, even on days where 10% of its clicks have come from Yahoo's search results. This is very encouraging. If this trend continues, it would create a great opportunity for marketers and could result in Bing taking a real bite of market share from Google. Advertisers need to keep a close eye on this and be ready to change their budget allocations as the situation dictates.
The paid search integration status remains very fluid. Yahoo and Bing have made it known that if they cannot complete the integration by October, they will delay full paid-search integration until early 2011. So far they are on schedule. Marketers need to prepare for a full integration in the next two months.
Advertisers are excited about the potential benefits of the Yahoo-Bing partnership for many reasons, including the potential for improved performance from the combined networks as compared to their separate existence. They are also rightly concerned about the hassle of reorganizing their accounts and determining new optimization parameters on the fly as they head into the most important season of the year. This will be a challenge -- but also a significant opportunity to outflank your competition. Start monitoring performance of Bing closely today, and you will be in a better position to succeed when the integration is complete.