Microsoft Enters Search Advertising Mix With MSN Keywords
This is an extremely busy week in Search Engine Marketing with the announcements of Ask Jeeves that they are launching their own paid search interface, the Yahoo Publisher Network (Yahoo Context Ads) getting off the ground to challenge Google AdWords, Google expanding the text characters of their AdWords ads, and now MSN announcing that MSN Keywords (part of MSN adCenter) will be launching via invitation only next week to 500 MSN advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reports that next week Microsoft is announcing “plans to begin U.S. testing of MSN Keywords, its own system for placing ads on its MSN Internet search site. The system will debut in the U.S. in test form in October, according to Joe Doran, senior director, MSN.”
Can you hear the dents in Yahoo and Google’s shield as more and more competition is targeting the $5.4 billion US search engine advertising market which Google and Yahoo have more or less shared for the past 5 years. Not only is Google being hit in search advertising by Ask Jeeves and MSN, but Yahoo is doubling the size of the blow with its entrance into the contextual targeted advertising field which Google more or less OWNS with Google AdSense.
But wait, Google is not the huge search engine based multi-billion dollar company losing market share and revenue from the MSN announcement. Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture) enjoys an agreement with MSN to run Yahoo Search Marketing ads on MSN Search results until June of 2006. The contract includes MSN operations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
Besides the Yahoo/Overture ads MSN does and has offered a particular search advertising option called Featured Sites where large MSN advertisers can buy top placement on search terms which are shown above all of the sponsored listings provided by Yahoo Search Marketing. MSN is planning to phase out Featured Sites once MSN Keywords is 100% open to the public.
More from the WSJ : The [MSN Keywords] service will move MSN closer to how Google handles advertising, by using live auctions of keywords. MSN Keywords is one tool of a broader set of new advertising services called adCenter that Microsoft is building on MSN. Microsoft executives say they hope the tools will allow companies to tailor advertisements by giving them more detailed information on Web users than is currently available.