Never Count on a Sure Thing in Search
If you’re in internet marketing, there’s just one thing you gotta know – things always change. Even things like the total dominance of Google in the Paid Search space can shift and sway.
In a huge reversal of trends and accepted universal truths, StatCounter reported that the Yahoo! Bing Network scored their highest share of search volume in the US since 2008, in December 2014. Rising from 7.4% to 10.4% of the market, YBN ate directly into Google’s share, which fell from 79.3% to 75.2%, the lowest share ever recorded by StatCounter.
Yeah, we know – Google’s obviously still the top dog here, but you can hardly say that the change is insignificant, and if you advertise online, you really can’t say that you’re reaching everyone you should if you only are on AdWords.
How did Yahoo! Bing Crawl Up?
The chief factor being cited is that Google ended a long term partnership with Mozilla to make their search engine the default on its beloved Firefox browser. Yahoo has picked up that relationship where they left off, and is reaping the benefit with Firefox 34. Organic search is up, which can often imply greater Paid search traffic as well.
Is this a Lasting Change?
It’s hard to predict permanent changes in adoption rates – if the deal hinges just on the Firefox relationship, then these results are only as good as the deal is.
Also, not long after this change up was reported elsewhere, we’re already seeing a backslide in the results. Individual users are going into their Firefox settings and switching their default search engine from Yahoo! back to Google.
However, not every user is going to know or care to do this. As long as queries get answers, many don’t worry about who is serving the results. According to Statista, in the US the browser usage in December 2014 breaks down as IE at 40.7%, Chrome at 29.97%, Safari at 14.44% and at Firefox at 12.07%.
If YBN can affect this much change with Firefox, a deal with next biggest browser Safari, could turn things further in their favor. Obviously, Apple has every reason to want Google to lose market share since they’re Apple’s largest mobile competitor. Considering that Siri already serves results from Bing by default, it isn’t a big leap to think that this could happen in the near future.
Takeaways – Allocate Spend Across Networks
Whether or not this is a trend that continues, there is a lesson online marketers can take away from this: don’t put all your ads in one network. No matter where your business operates, but especially in the US (and China, for that matter), Google isn’t the only game in town. You can’t reach all of your potential customers by relying solely on them.
Bing and Yahoo are looking more and more appealing as a supplemental part of your ad spend – the bidding CPC is lower, the traffic has a growing CTR. According to a recent study by Adgooroo, “the range of savings across [all] verticals was from 23% to 63% lower cost per click for Bing Ads.” There’s no reason Bing and Yahoo! shouldn’t be a part of your mix if your customers are in America.
Consider our own Brian Rauschenbach’s take, “Be agile and strike while the iron is hot. Opportunities pop up fast and go away just as fast.”