Yahoo Set To Transition Mobile Search To Microsoft

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Yahoo Mobile search ads will transition to the Microsoft platform by the end of October, according to a timeline the Sunnyvale, Calif. company published Wednesday.

International marketers will begin making the transition in 2011, and all global customers and partners are expected to make the transition early the following year. The companies expect that organic search results will begin feeding into Yahoo's portals first, followed by paid-search listings.

For organic search, Yahoo and Microsoft intend to start with Spanish-speaking Latin American markets in the first quarter of 2011. For paid search, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and India become the next set of markets in Q2 2011.

Yahoo and Microsoft believe the search alliance creates a competitive alternative to connect with consumers. The two say the combined efforts allow advertisers to reach an audience of 163 million searchers in the United States and 15 million searchers in Canada through Bing and Yahoo. Plus, managing one account for both Bing and Yahoo search enables advertisers to save time and simplify campaigns.

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Not all agree. Some don't understand the integration at all. Domain Incubation Founder Chris Nielsen says Yahoo's search results were just "okay." But "okay" isn't good enough when considering the dollars advertisers sink into paid search.

Compared to Google and Microsoft, he says the quality on Yahoo produced the worst results. Click fraud was the highest and traffic referrals the lowest. In fact, in the past few months since Yahoo and Microsoft began tying together untidy ends, Nielsen noticed increased traffic referrals from Microsoft Search to parked domains he manages.

Analysts at Performics have tracked and evaluated the Bing-Yahoo paid-search migration. In the first week the company saw some increase in CPCs, but these costs have since returned to normal seasonal expectations. Click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates have remained consistent with seasonal expectations.

Yahoo serves up tips in a blog post that explains the transition. The post provides tips on managing adCenter accounts and accessing support.

Through their adCenter account, marketers can now manage all paid-search ads on Yahoo search and Microsoft search, and can ensure that adCenter budgets are large enough to cover estimated clicks from both search engines.

Beginning Thursday, all Yahoo Search Marketing accounts will change to a "read-only state," meaning that marketers can no longer make changes to the account or use it to manage ads and campaigns. Yahoo accounts will remain accessible for the next five months through the same log-in previously used to view historical data from the past 13 months.

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