A report analyzing traffic and click-through rates from ad network Chikita finds that “Bing users are over 50% more likely to click an ad on your site than Google users.” What this means, according to the post, is those who arrive at third party sites via Bing click more frequently on ads on those sites than those coming through Google. TechCrunch offers a bit more detail and speculation about why this might be (i.e., “the law of large numbers”). According to Chikita, the respective click rates are:
- Google: .97 percent
- Yahoo: 1.24 percent
- Bing: 1.5 percent
Bing appears has made some incremental gains in search market share since its launch at the end of May. The two most recent roundups of the numbers are here and here. Even though Bing has been well received and has some momentum it doesn’t appear that will quickly translate into significant market share advances. For that reason Microsoft still needs Yahoo’s reach.
Turning to the seemingly perpetual subject of a search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo, AdAge is reporting that a deal, previously described as “imminent,” could be announced this week. The article says the payment structure was a sticking point and will be a revenue share rather than an upfront payment and revenue guarantees, which Yahoo had reportedly wanted:
Execs in Redmond never conceived of the deal as an upfront purchase of Yahoo’s search traffic but as a deal in which Yahoo would be compensated from a share of revenue from the sale of search ads. Yahoo would be allowed to sell search ads on Bing.com as well as its own site, giving it more search inventory to sell and making it a bigger player in the search sales front. It would also immediately be able to save millions by not having to maintain its own search infrastructure.
The latest terms of the deal underscore Microsoft’s devotion to developing and owning technology vs. selling media. The deal won’t make it a bigger seller of online advertising but it would allow it to eliminate a search-technology competitor in Yahoo and consolidate roughly 30% of the search marketplace on its own platform — a large enough share, CEO Steve Ballmer seems to believe, to dent Google’s dominance.
If the article is correct then Yahoo would retain the ability to sell search and display to its advertisers, but probably not through an integrated platform. Currently Yahoo sells search via Panama and display advertising through APT; however there was always discussion of integrating the platforms in the near term.
We’ll have to wait to see whether there’s a deal and what the terms are. Any such deal would have to pass muster with regulators before it could be implemented.
On that front, the NY Times ran an article this weekend describing internal conflict within the Obama administration about how aggressive to get with anti-trust policy and prosecutions. The US Department of Justice anti-trust chief Christine Varney, who has described Google previously as “a monopoly,” is apparently facing push-back in her quest to reign in some US corporations. How this internal debate plays out will affect scrutiny of potential deals such as Yahoo-Microsoft.