By Sue Brady
Wait, there are other search engines?
Google has 67% share of the search market. With over 19 billion total searches happening a month (Comscore, August 2013) there is no question that Google has a stronghold on the search market. However, other search engines represent 6 billion searches a month and should be a part of your search plan. The partnership between Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing powers almost 30% of all searches.
Another search engine, DuckDuckGo, recently relaunched (in beta) with features to make it more useful. DuckDuckGo is small but does process almost 5 million searches a day. They’ve added image search and auto suggest along with some other features. The appeal of DuckDuckGo is privacy. Their claim is that they don’t track what you search. That can become a more valuable value proposition as time goes on and consumers decide that they like the idea of being able to search privately.
If you aren’t including at least Yahoo!/Bing in your search plans, you should be. Or more to the point, at a minimum you should be testing there. For one thing, Yahoo!/Bing will cost you less per click. You might be reaching fewer people, but importantly, your Cost per Click will be lower. Your strategy can be similar on both search engines. You can even import your Google ad campaigns into Bing.
As has been reported in the past by many other studies, click-thru rates and conversions on both Google and Yahoo!/Bing are fairly similar if you’re a small business. But for other advertisers, it seems that conversion rates are typically higher on Yahoo!/Bing. Here’s a great read by on on why you should try Bing and how to get started with a Bing account.
Yahoo!/Bing has some new features like ad units called Hero Ads that come up when a user is searching for brand specific information (currently it’s a pilot program, only available on Windows 8). They offer call extensions on mobile ads and claim that those can yield up to 30% greater click-thru rates. And, Bing is the default search engine for Siri on the iOS7 release. Plus, search is being integrated into a number of Microsoft products such as Xbox, Windows 8, MS Office and others. Finally, while Google is no longer showing keywords that drive organic traffic to your site, Bing is not imposing that limitation in their analytics.
While this article will help you understand how much to actually spend on your campaigns, the real trick is to figure out how much to allocate between Google and Yahoo!/Bing and still be profitable. Plus, adding in some of the smaller engines like DuckDuckGo might give you surprising results. To figure out the balance, you’ll need to test. Definitely start with Google, and take your best keywords/phrases from there and test them on other search engines. If your profit is greater on Yahoo!/Bing or DuckDuckGo, try allocating additional spend to maximize that profit.
Know your options and continue to test so that you can adjust and balance to maximize your spending. Don’t forget, there are others besides Google who want your business.