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Do search marketers need another ad vendor?

I’m constantly asked which search engines a rookie paid search advertiser should work with. Obviously, everyone should take part in Google AdWords, because Google covers half or more of all searches. Most marketers should also look at Yahoo!, which handles about one-quarter of all searches—their Panama platform has made them an even more interesting choice for ad spending. But what about Microsoft? Or ask.com? Or MIVA? Every search marketer has a limited amount of time to spend managing campaigns, so what would cause you to look at them?


Big search marketers probably have the volume to look at many paid placement vendors, but smaller companies must be more careful. Let’s look at several search vendors and see what you get out of them besides a bit more traffic:

  • Microsoft. The big carrot here is personalization. Search marketers can pay a premium to get customers in certain demographics (such as age or gender)—if that results in more qualified visitors for your site, then it might be worth the extra work to manage a Microsoft campaign.
  • Ask. The newest program has one of the best sweeteners. If you spend $5,000 a month with them, Ask provides free search marketing consulting to improve copy, click rates, and other return on investment factors. You might find that what you learn from this free consulting could be applied to ads you run on other search engines, boosting your entire campaign.
  • MIVA. MIVA has traditionally had a stronger presence in Europe than elsewhere, so you may consider them more strongly in certain country markets. In addition, MIVA has an interesting inline advertising option, so some advertisers may find that they benefit from a different presentation than the average contextual ad.

You’ll find no end of options for the search marketer with time on your hands—except there aren’t any such search marketers. We’re all busy and we must pick our spots to decide what’s worth our time. After you’ve focused on Google and Yahoo!, however, maybe these thoughts can provide you some guidance as to whether to spend your time on one more paid placement vendor.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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