Although it may be the “dog days” of summer for many of you, for us here at Microsoft, it’s the beginning of a new fiscal year. In other words, it’s the perfect time to take stock of where we are and where we are headed in the coming year.
From my perspective, it could not be a more exciting time for Bing Ads and the Yahoo! Bing Network.
From Microsoft’s standpoint, it all starts with a belief that building a better search product requires that we put our customers first. We listen, then deliver what they want and need. We pride ourselves on being different from Google’s “execute first, ask questions later” approach.
Our philosophy also includes transparency as a foundational element. There is no shroud of secrecy in how we operate our platform.
Is our philosophy working? You be the judge:
- Today, we have 159 million unique searchers on Yahoo! Bing Network, 51 million of whom do not use Google. Since last fall, we have seen a 4.5% and 11% increase in these numbers respectively.
- Today, we are in 25 international markets and will be in 50 by year-end.
- Over the last year, our click volume has increased 25%.
- Over the last year, we have delivered over 1,000 platform features and improvements to Bing Ads.
- Bing Ad innovations such as Local Ad Extensions (35% improvement in click-through rate, or CTR) and SiteLink Extensions (25% lift in CTR) are bringing more consumers to our site, and keeping them there.
- Today we have 60% more premium and small-to-medium sized businesses running campaigns on our platform than one year ago.
By placing the customer first, great opportunities for advertisers will follow. Ultimately, our goal is to enable advertisers to get one click closer to their customers, and vice versa.
What else is there to be optimistic about?
The other thing that is top of mind for me – and is often times Topic #1 for financial analysts and industry pundits – is the primary metric by which we judge our performance, and that is Revenue Per Thousand Searches, or RPS for short. RPS is based on the simple law of supply and demand. The better our network performs, the greater is the number of consumers who will seek it out. This, in turn, creates more value for advertisers, and hence creates more incentive for them to spend money with us; a truly virtuous cycle.
While a strong RPS is a good indicator of financial health for Yahoo! Bing Network, it’s only a reflection of our overall ability to deliver value for our advertising customers. While we are unable to disclose specifics, here’s what I can tell you:
- We are experiencing double-digit year-over-year percentage growth in RPS;
- Our RPS has never been higher, either before or since our agreement with Yahoo!;
- This increasing RPS is having a positive impact on the financial performance of Microsoft’s Online Services Division (OSD); and
- The growth trajectory we are seeing leads us to believe that this upward trend will continue.
It is not a stretch to say that we are now firing on all cylinders.
I think it is important to underscore that positive momentum doesn’t just happen because we want it to. It is the result of a tremendous amount of work, innovation, and commitment to execution, both on the part of Microsoft and Yahoo! to provide the market with a competitive, strong alternative to Google. As much ground as we have covered to date, there is even more ground to be tilled in the months and years to come.
As we enter a new year, we expect to deliver even more innovation and value to our customers. I will continue to be transparent regarding advertising related milestones, perspectives and achievements. Watch this space – there is plenty more to come.
David Pann, GM, Microsoft Advertising Search Group