For the large majority of people who regularly use the internet, Google is their go-to search engine. However, while Google currently holds the majority of the search traffic (a little over 50%), there are still 3 other major players in the Search Engine market that should be considered when implementing a search campaign, depending on the target market and demographic.
Google AdWords: As mentioned previously, Google is the major search engine online. Studies show Google users usually have a college degree and have more navigational and inquiry searches. Google has the best resources and largest informational database for users wanting to set up search campaigns themselves. They also have an AdWords certification program, where all the study material is free.
Bing (Microsoft AdCenter) and Yahoo Sponsored Search: Bing and MSN.com are growing steadily and have become a major competitor to Google, especially after their deal with Apple to add search support for the new iPhone and their partnership with Yahoo for search. Until recently, Bing and Yahoo used to be competitors but now they have joined forces, basically trading Microsoft’s power for Yahoo’s algorithms. The deal is set for a certain number of years.
Many users like the aesthetic of the Bing.com, MSN, and Yahoo homepages. Studies have shown that users who use Bing and Yahoo are usually shopping online, making travel plans, and are middle class. Yahoo users are also shown to have a lower income and are less educated.
Ask Sponsored Listings: The smallest of the search engines mentioned, Ask has a great sponsored search program that is fairly simple to use. Ask.com is recommend for small businesses and companies who don’t have a large search budget but their target demographic is B2C. Ask has a large content network that makes it great for ‘testing the waters’ of search engine marketing before setting a PPC budget or deciding to spend more money. Ask users are usually women and/or mothers and middle class.
Search Marketing Sign-Up Pages:
- Google: http://www.google.com/adwords
- Bing: http://adcenter.microsoft.com
- Yahoo: http://marketingsolutions.yahoo.com (Bing and Yahoo still use separate interfaces as of June 2010.)
- Ask: http://sponsoredlistings.ask.com
Photo courtesy of chrisjohnbeckett on Flickr.