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Feb 2007 Results: Yahoo 'Panama' Siezes Back Share From Google

Yahoo seized back paid search market share during February 2007 across our client base. This graph presents total Yahoo paid search ad spend across RKG clients, by month, expressed as a percentage of total Google paid search spend.

In January 2006, our agency was spending about 38 cents on Yahoo for every dollar spent on Google running paid search for our clients. (Note our clients instruct us to run their paid search campaigns to achieve their economic goals. None of our clients mandate a priori budget levels by engine. Our portfolio bidding platform optimizes ad budgets, buying the best clicks first. Thus, an increase in spend on an engine reflects an increase in click quality, such as improved conversion or sales per click.) This percentage fell steadily during 2006, reflecting Yahoo's loss of share to Google. Relative to Google, our agency increased our Yahoo spend during December '07 and January '07. We surmised that this uptick had to do with how Yahoo prioritized ad serving during the DTC-XML -- Panama transition. In February, Yahoo aggressively took back share from Google, returning to Jan 2006 levels. We believe this change was driven by the rollout of Quality Based Bidding on February 5. In February 2007, Google received about 2.6 times more ad revenue than Yahoo -- from Yahoo's perspective, a decided improvement from the 4.5-to-1 Google-to-Yahoo spend ratio we observed in November. Digging into our largest 50 accounts, we noted that 60% increased their Yahoo spend in Feb '07 (versus Jan '07), compared to 54% for increasing their Feb '07 Google spend vs. their Jan '07 Google spend. For these large advertisers, the average percentage change in Google ad spend from Jan '07 to Feb '07 was up 8%. Their average percentage change in Yahoo ad spend over the same period was up 24%. 32 of our largest 50 accounts (64%) experienced a larger percentage increase in their Feb'07 vs. Jan'07 Yahoo spend than in their Feb'07 vs. Jan'07 Google spend. Bottom line: Google is still dominant, but Yahoo gained back some ground in February.
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