You may have seen the news that Google plans to provide web search results and search ads for an unspecified number of Yahoo user queries. 

See the SEC filing here. So, what does that mean for marketers?

Reach more potential customers with AdWords

12.7% of US search queries go through Yahoo, according to ComScore.

That means AdWords could reach a significantly larger audience.

Yahoo sites will be automatically included in the Google search network, so there's nothing extra AdWords customers will have to do to target this audience.

Bing Advertisers should keep their ears to the ground

It seems Yahoo is inching out of its partnership with Bing Ads. Either party can terminate their deal as of October 21 2015.

This proposed deal between Yahoo and Google does not specify how much of Yahoo traffic will be shown AdWords as opposed to Bing Ads.

51% of Yahoo search traffic will still be served by Bing and its search products, but if the deal goes ahead and both ad platforms are in play at the same, Bing Advertisers will be keeping a close eye on performance, to see if specific sectors or devices suffer.

Some sectors may see greater opportunity with AdWords

Take a look at Yahoo Everything and you'll see that Yahoo has websites dedicated to a range of sectors, with particular emphasis on finance and sports.

AdWords customers keen to tap into Yahoo Finance, MSN Money or Fantasy Football website audiences (among others) will be eager to see what impact this deal has on their campaigns, whether on CPC or conversion.

A study by ComScore found that searchers on the Yahoo Bing network spend 6.8% more money online than those searching on Google - an encouraging statistic.

Google Analytics data analysis from Further, shown below, shows the index of interest for search engine users. As you can see, there are a variety of over-represented interests amongst Yahoo searchers, including DIY, sports and pets.

It should be pointed out that this analysis was performed on website organic search referral traffic, aggregated from mainly B2C Google Analytics accounts, which may naturally have more accurate Google referral data.

index of interest - searchers

Older, female searchers are over-represented among Yahoo users

The two charts below are again taken from research by Further.

They suggest that advertisers targeting women over 45 may see their AdWords campaigns perform better if such ads are indeed served via Yahoo's AdSense for search.

index of age - search engine users 

index of gender

Gemini users could be affected

Gemini is Yahoo's current ad platform allowing the purchase of search ads within Yahoo websites.

It has generated low CPCs due to a lack of competition and relatively engaged users compared to other channels.

See the chart below from Shareaholic showing how Yahoo searchers compare to others for time and pages on site, as well as bounce rate.

Although Gemini may not be as easy a platform to manage as AdWords, those marketers already successfully using it may be forgiven for being suspicious about what will happen to their campaign metrics.

Gemini also has a range of product, image and video ads. It will be interesting to see whether these will eventually defer to AdWords.

post click yahoo engagement

Europe is unaffected

The service agreement applies to the US and 20 other countries but not to the EU. So, marketers focusing on Europe should pay little heed.

Anti-trust proceedings within the EU against Google seem to be the reason for the region's exclusion.

Indeed, the agreement still includes stipulation that either party can renege if EU proceedings have a material impact on this non-EU Google-Yahoo partnership.

The deal may not yet happen

Google and Yahoo tried a similar deal back in 2008 but it was rejected after a Department of Justice anti-trust ruling.

Regulators will review the details this time around but both parties are apparently confident the service will go ahead.

If it does go ahead, Yahoo's revenue could be set for a timely boost

If half of Yahoo's search ads were served by AdSense, this could boost Yahoo search revenue by about $200-$400m a year.

Google will "pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues from AFS ads displayed on Yahoo Properties or Affiliate Sites," and Yahoo will pay fees for web and image search results displayed.

Currently, according to Google's website, AdSense For Search publishers receive 51% of the revenue recognised by Google. It's unclear if this will be the case for Yahoo or whether they will have a separate agreement.

With Yahoo down 6% net income in Q3, YoY, (at $946.9m), the coffers could be set for a timely boost.

See the Econsultancy Search Marketing topic page for more on the latest Google developments and best practice.

Ben Davis

Published 26 October, 2015 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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