We took a look at "Market Share" of the big three engines over time and saw some interesting trends.
A couple of notes on the data:
- The benchmark we're using is advertising expense not impressions or traffic volume.
- We looked at Paid Search only, not content or banner deals
- We studied the advertising network, not strictly the engine's domain.
- Our systems are engine agnostic: our clients do not set engine budgets, indeed most don't have budgets at all. We allow money to flow based strictly on where traffic can be purchased within efficiency tolerances.
Given that understanding, here's what we saw over the past 15 months:
Two observations come to mind:
- It appears that since last August, Yahoo! has regained some ground.
- Google seemed to get a larger holiday kick than the others.
- Even with MSN Cashback and MSN's willingness to buy Market Share from Google -- I'm sure others saw Google ads for Live Search on high traffic KW, yes? -- MSN gained no share whatsoever.
With respect to 1, I'm not sure if the fluctuations between Google and Yahoo relate to Yahoo showing Google ads for a period last spring and summer, or network partners coming and going. Could Google's holiday bump be a function of advertiser's focusing more on Google bidding than others at the holiday driving up CPCs for those of us who apply seasonal adjustments automatically across all engines?
Do others see similar trends? Do others have better explanations than I do for them?