Monday, August 30, 2010 | Posted by Aaron Goldman
On Friday, I spoke on the record with Mike Shields at MediaWeek for his article, "Agencies Prep for Yahoo-Bing Transition." We had a great conversation that ran the gamut from functionality to market share. Ultimately, Mike only used one of my sound-bytes in his piece so I'll share that here and provide more thoughts after the break...
Per Aaron Goldman, principal at the digital marketing firm Connectual, Bing is now Google’s equal in usability. “But just as good is not going to win,” he said.
There's no doubt catching up to Google in terms of relevance and comprehensiveness is a huge accomplishment for Microsoft. But, as we all know, the Google habit is well formed and it's going to take a truly revolutionary approach to search (think Apple/Siri) to really start driving a stake into the heart of the Big G.
As it stands, Bing has eeked out 3 more percentage points of search market share -- see my post tracking SEM market share monthly -- since launching last June but they've all come at the expense of Yahoo. Since Bing launched, Google has actually gained 1.2 points per comScore -- as I predicted.
As for the Bing Yahoo integration, last week saw Bing's organic listings officially rolled out across Yahoo in the US and Canada. More importantly for advertisers, though, there is still no word as to when the transition of Bing paid search listings to Yahoo will be complete. A decision was supposed to have been made last week as to whether or not the change was imminent or would be put off until after the new year so as not to disrupt holiday sales.
Now that the technology integration is (nearly) complete, the focus at Bing and Yahoo will turn to people and process integration. This is by no means the easy part. Sales and operations teams need to be realigned and that can easily take 6 months to execute.
Meanwhile, look for Google to continue taking advantage of its distracted competitors and further innovating in search. The ITA acquisition is a step in the direction of creating a more comprehensive search experience that doesn't require a string of queries to find answers and take action. This, after all, is the promise of Siri and, unless Google can head it off at the pass, in 10 years we won't be talking about Google vs. Microsoft, we'll be talking about Google vs. Apple.
Update 8/31: Yahoo just put out a call to advertisers to begin account transitions to adCenter but there's still a bit of ambiguity on timing and whether or not the flip will actually be switched this year: "While we are confident that the preparation work done to date and the transition plan we are moving forward with now will help us reach this goal, please remember that deferring the paid search transition to 2011 is still a possibility if we conclude it would improve the overall experience."