Last May when I covered the Microsoft Live Search Cashback program, I must admit that I found it a bit outrageous as a way for Microsoft to promote its Live Search engine. And I could say that back then, I was not alone in feeling that way about the cashback program. A couple of months later, Microsoft reported that despite not gaining significant traction, the cashback program is still getting good amount of usage as well as traffic to its Live Search portal brought about by the program.
Six months after, here comes Microsoft reporting that aside from search queries that the cashback generates which is so far successful as far as Microsoft is concerned, two other key measurements of the Live Search Program have proven favorable as well – number of offers and ROI for advertisers. In fact, Microsoft announced that the 20 of the top 50 online retailers in the U.S. and 140 of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 are now into the Live Search cashback program.
Brad Goldberg, general manager of Microsoft Live Search was more than pleased to report the program’s 30% increase in product offerings.
“We have seen an average of 4.5 million unique users per month visiting cashback who have conducted more than 68 million commercial queries. We believe this early traction speaks to the differentiated and unique value proposition of Microsoft Live Search cashback for both consumers and advertisers, especially in these tough economic times.”
comScore’s second quarter report even highlighted that Microsoft Live Search have referred 12% of the Total U.S. commercial online transaction and around 13% of total U.S. online spending. Plus other significant figures relating to online commercial search activities.
Now, this may seem a good development for the Live Search Cashback program, and Microsoft may very well gain traction on the commercial search market, but would this be enough to propel Live Search’s over all search market share to the top of the charts. I don’t think so. Search market share metrics is not all over commercial-related searches. In fact, it’s just but one tiny part of the overall online search market.
There’s still a big chunk of the search market audience which Microsoft needs to work on. Not just the consumer-related searches carried out online. Unfortunately that big chunk of search market share is being held up by Google for a very long time now.
But then, Microsoft’s Live Search Cashback program maybe the start of something for Microsoft’s search engine business.