With Q2 over and the major search engines set to release their earnings reports over the next two weeks, there's a renewed focus on the competition between them in PPC and a bunch of data being released for us all to pore over. So far, little information has come out to suggest a significant turnaround for the struggling Microsoft/Yahoo Search Alliance and RKG's data does not break that pattern. Here's an updated view of the Search Alliance's share of paid clicks across a representative sample of the RKG client base: Over the last several months we've documented a few areas of concern that advertisers and investors should have with the Search Alliance, with the key takeaways being:
- Even though combined Bing and Yahoo revenue per click (RPC) has improved since Bing took over ad serving, CPCs have not kept pace.
- Bing's ad serving is much more restrictive than Yahoo's was before the Alliance, as shown by a sharp drop in broad matched traffic.
- An upturn in Bing traffic at the beginning of the year appears to be more the result of the acquisition of Conduit toolbar traffic, which is being sent directly to a Bing SERP, rather than organic user adoption.
- Search partner traffic is still declining, albeit slightly, on the Alliance.
- Bing's more restrictive broad match prevents keywords with raised bids from entering additional auctions to the same extent as we would see on Google.
- Lower competition on Bing and their handling of Quality Score may be resulting in wider gaps in the bid landscape, so bid increases are less likely to result in CPC increases for any given auction.
- Google's promoted position thresholds serve to drive up costs for terms in position 1, a factor not believed to be at play on Bing.
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