Are Yahoo and Bing Rushing Integration?

We recently sat down with the combined Microsoft/Yahoo teams to further discuss platform integration. Early in the conversation, I found myself frustrated by the change because of the lack of seemingly any outside SEM consultation.

I’m still a little disillusioned by our partner’s process, but change is good, right? How will the partnership advance? If their intention is scale, is it feasible for long-term growth “as is”?

The following few points bring up a few integration woes and where they may need to improve.

Reporting Consolidation

Bing and Yahoo reporting and budgeting will be blended under Microsoft’s platform. Although this will create some reporting efficiencies on the advertisers’ side, it will also eliminate certain granularities that we gain through separate engine reporting.

Why not follow the leader? Google allows you to break out syndication type through specific campaign settings. They also allow advertisers to buy direct through AOL and Ask while opting out for syndication, so SEMs can better target consumption (and/or better qualify targets).

This seems to be a sticking point for many, and I have a hunch that Bing/Yahoo will advance reporting post Q4. In the meanwhile, we’ll all be working on revised URL parameters to help report out engine syndication.

Consumption Targeting

These are two very different market places. The main goal for Bing/Yahoo is to create scale through partnership. However it seems like they overlooked some fundamentals — mainly, market differential.

Advertisers need the ability to report out and target these differing demographics. Copy, dayparting, bid strategy, and campaign focus vary engine to engine. Will this consolidation actually inhibit scale?

Like the reporting issues, I believe the platform will eventually provide the appropriate segmentation. Its early targeting may be released via API only, while they further develop the interface. Either way, this seems like an attempt to confuse qualified market share; thus creating a surplus of ads within market and driving short-term scale until advertisers pull the reins on underperforming programs.

Later, Cashback

This definitely wasn’t a fan favorite. The Cashback folks announced the termination of the program a few weeks back. If you need to get a feel for the market frustration, just visit the Cashback Facebook page (hundreds of negative comments).

This definitely wasn’t a profit center for Microsoft, however it was one of the more engaging ideas within the last few years. Bing gained percentage growth in market through significant TV. And guess what… Cashback created some loyalists.

Please bring this back. Pretty please!

My hope is that the soul stays in the Bing product team. Although the line of business was a forward-thinking idea, the backend advertiser integration was a mess.

What did they learn from this program? Will Google steal from the idea and make it better (my guess: definitely)? Could they limit participation and/or have an advantage group, so that it would be more of a loyalty program rather than a loss leader?

Regardless of the platform integration, change is inevitable, (within the next six months), although I like to think I have more control over the process. Like Yahoo’s Panama advancement a few years ago, we’ll have to work through the kinks and reconfigure our strategy.

This being said, there is one consistent part of this change: Google.

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