Analysts not convinced of Bing PPC integration
Bing’s trial of PPC in organic search appears to be a very limited one, but nonetheless has piqued the interest of analysts.
Bing’s new PPC/organic search tests leave analysts scratching their heads
Monday, July 25 2011 by John Burns
Bing has started testing integrating pay per click (PPC) results into organic search results, but some analysts are not convinced the search engine will benefit.
This approach to boosting revenue per search (RPS) has long been a taboo among search engines, having proved so controversial in the past as to have forced a policy u-turn by providers such as Yahoo.
The revelation, since confirmed by Microsoft, initially emerged on the Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG) blog, after analyst Emily Kirk spotted the anomaly.
RKG senior research analyst Mark Ballard admitted that he had not been able to replicate the phenomenon with any of his own searches, but was wary about the strategic implications.
He notes in a blog post: “It’s good to see Bing testing, but I don’t see this being the answer to their RPS concerns.”
When asked about whether it was in fact testing Bing, Microsoft was keen to point out that any experimentation is conducted very carefully. A spokesperson said: “We’re constantly testing and experimenting on Bing, and with that, we carefully measure user engagement and reaction to these changes. We have nothing further to share at this time.”
Traditionally, Bing has placed its ads either above or below search results, while making them easy to distinguish from organic content in a similar vein to its rivals.
However, as Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz points out with Bing’s new test, “they are almost completely blended into the organic results that they look to be completely unbiased, free, organic listings”.
Both search engine Google and, more recently, micro-blogging site Twitter faced damning criticism for their decisions to include ads within organic content in a similar way.
Why Bing has considered a similar route remains a mystery, and on this basis it would appear that any decision to roll this out on a larger scale would be met with similar criticism.
But – as with so many things in the search advertising world – Bing could yet have an innovative solution in store that could surprise even the vehement naysayers.
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