There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Bing/Yahoo partnership. Much of the speculation comes from a lack of details regarding the specifics of the deal struck between the two companies. Perhaps prompted by re-negotiation terms from the two company’s back in May, or maybe Microsoft sought to address squirrelly investor questions about the deal, whatever the cause, Microsoft is doing things a bit differently now. Microsoft is now releasing data showing the weekly trending of Yahoo search ad click volume that comes by way of Bing Ads.
This new move may also be a bit of posturing from Microsoft to keep some leverage in future negotiations with Yahoo. Posting number like this keeps both companies on the level when discussing perceived benefits and responsibilities stemming from their deal. For anyone interested, the Bing Ads team will be posting weekly updates surrounding Bing Ads delivery rate and Yahoo’s click volume the Bing Ads sites. According to the Bing Ads team, “Despite what you may have heard, Bing Ads continues to deliver ad clicks against over 99% of Yahoo PC traffic and approximately 90% of mobile/tablet traffic. Further, click volume remains stable averaging 99% of Yahoo's April baseline click volume across all devices.”
While this might serve to keep Microsoft from being Yahoo’s whipping boy during future Bing/Yahoo negotiations, Bing still needs to continue to perform. Based on the new terms we do know, Yahoo can serve up to 49 percent of desktop search traffic ads using its Gemini ad system, whereas previously, Bing Ads was the go-to source for both companies. Perhaps, worst yet for Microsoft, Yahoo is now free to partner with Google to increase the company's advertising numbers under the new terms. As some have already begun to speculate, Marissa Meyer may already be eyeing ties with her former employer Google to help buoy Yahoo’s advertising efforts. If Yahoo chooses that route, the Bing Ads new weekly report potentially forces Yahoo to justify its move against the evidence that Microsoft is honoring its side of an arguably lopsided deal.
According to Search Engine Land, “In Q4 of last year, RKG Merkle reported seeing Yahoo Gemini account for a greater share of Bing and Yahoo mobile traffic among its clients, but other than that little outside data has been published on click share to date.” As of May 1st, Microsoft is delivering on their end of the deal based on their reporting. Microsoft does address the 1 percent drop as being ‘not unusual’. Due to the seasonality of queries, small shifts like that are apparently expected. Again, posting the numbers weekly is an excellent strategy for clearing up the confusion investors, advertisers, and journalists have regarding whether or not Bing is pulling its weight in the deal. However, having publicly available numbers could be the double-edged sword Bing advertising lives by or dies upon.