Hang Tight! The Search Landscape is Going Topsy-Turvy

Just 2 weeks ago I dropped knowledge all over you regarding the importance of Yahoo! Gemini. To summarize – the Yahoo!/Bing Search Alliance is changing. Yahoo! will start serving their own (or other) ads out of Gemini in July. July starts tomorrow y’all!

Why am I harping on the world of search going topsy-turvy? Microsoft is nervous about the changes with Yahoo!. And rightfully so. They’ve seen growth with Bing Ads with the Yahoo! partnership and changes could hurt their progress. Windows 10 is coming later this summer and that could give Bing a boost to search volume. But that is a HUGE question mark. Being a smart business, Microsoft has been working behind the scenes to secure their future in search. They went and got a new partner: AOL.

Yes, that AOL. Many folks forget that AOL is still a thing, and that’s too bad. AOL owns Huffington Post and some of the most widely read web publications. They have a big, sexy display network and make a TON of money with it. They have search integrated into their homepage and many other areas across their vast network. However, as most of you know – AOL has search ads today… Google AdWords served through the Search Partner network!

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Thus the Chicken-Little-esque “the sky is falling” attitude. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not scared. You shouldn’t be scared either. What you (and I) SHOULD be is getting prepared and perhaps somewhat excited. Things are going to get crazy for PPC advertisers, but maybe awesome, too!

  • We get to have a 3rd option for PPC: Google AdWords, Bing Ads and Yahoo! Gemini. This is happening NOW.
  • Microsoft will continue to make huge deals to remain relevant and awesome – a la partnering with AOL. What’s next?!?!?
  • Google AdWords will see a drop in Search Partner activity given AOL is one of their premier partners today. But smart advertisers using Bing Ads won’t “lose” that traffic… just absorb it in their Bing campaigns. We have until January 2016 to get prepared for this shift and then 10 years (yes, 10) to deal with it.

The other piece to this puzzle is that the Microsoft / AOL deal also includes display. According to the press release, AOL will be absorbing all of Microsoft’s display inventory into their system. Personally, I was hoping that Microsoft would make their display platform available within Bing Ads much like Google does with the GDN in AdWords. For now, that hope is dashed.

Topsy-turvy or not, my 9 years in the digital advertising industry has never seen a dull moment. And as the old saying goes: the only constant is change.  What are your thoughts on this announcement?

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