Bing / Yahoo! Merger and Measurement. Traffic Conversion & ROI on the Information Superhighway
Bing and Yahoo! have merged. That is the big news. Is that big news? What does that mean in “real” terms? By “real” terms we mean things we can measure as opposed to how we feel about it.
As a company Opentracker is affected by this merge on two separate fronts.
1. The ROI / Conversion Reporting system that we have in beta at the moment. We generated a report per Source? (search engine?) and noticed that the results did not correspond with what we were seeing in the Yahoo! and Adcenter reporting systems. A bit of research revealed that traffic we purchased through a campaign managed in Yahoo! was coming in through Bing. Technically what this means is that a visitor? coming in with a customized destination url containing the tag “yahoo” was brought to us through bing.com
What is perhaps most interesting about this is that it’s sent us scurrying to the drawing board: imagine how this works! In the future all search engines will continue buying all other search engines, changing names, and (re)distributing traffic. Light bulbs flashing over our excited little heads. We decided to engineer a system which will tell you which clicks came from which campaign no matter how the visitors came to you. In other words: “follow the money” back to where you spent it. More to follow on this subject as we head from beta into production.
2. Our own PPC campaigns that we manage for the purpose of bringing traffic into opentracker.net
The data here is still being collected. The question on the information superhighway is: how does Bing / Yahoo! traffic convert compared to almighty Google? The first murmurings seem to be saying that Bing clients are reporting higher conversions, although we haven’t seen any numbers. The only numbers we have are from a dataset that shows a drop in organic traffic referred? from Bing as compared with LIVE MSN Search. The example site was receiving close to 1700 clicks in the month of May 2009 from organic search.msn.com and search.live.com and received 400 in the month of June 2009 from Bing. What does this tell us? That site ranking has changed. A review of current blogger and industry sites on the subject reveals…nothing. The inner-workings of the Bing search algorithm are still a secret.
We added opentracker.net to the Bing adcenter a few days after it went live. There were some administrative issues, and on top of that our listings did not seem to be appearing. We spoke with an extremely friendly Live / Bing technician on the phone who was unable to figure it out either. All we could come up with was to use the “update all bids for best position” feature, which does what you can imagine – sets bids at upwards of $50 per click. Bottom line is that now, after 4+ months, our listings have started appearing in Bing results. In other words, have patience. We do not have conversion data for our site yet. When we do, we will write it up as an article.
What we did find very helpful was that you can see how much traffic is occurring across the Bing network in terms of impressions for any keyword. And so we were able to research and understand why some results were lower than expected, because the traffic simply isn’t there.
3. Conclusion: The merger itself.
Regarding the merger itself, here are the two most informative / explanatory quotes we could find on the subject:
“Microsoft’s Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites.”
“Bing will now power search on Yahoo! and Yahoo!’s salesforce will sell the premium (non-self service) search advertising for Yahoo!/Bing. Bing also gets access to Yahoo!’s core search technology and can, at its option, leverage that to help create more relevant results.”