Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
More Than Half Of Yahoo’s Paid Search Clicks Come From Partners
Efficient Frontier is out with
research looking at how the major search engines get search traffic outside
their own search engines, including the remarkable stat that less than half of
Yahoo’s paid search clicks happen on its own search sites.
"Search syndication" is when a major search engine provides search results
beyond its own core services. For example, Google quite famously provides the
search listings that AOL uses. Ask.com, while it generates its own editorial
listings, also gets some of Google’s paid ads through a syndication deal. And
many sites across the web use
AdSense For Search program to get both paid and unpaid results.
Efficient looked at paid search clicks that it buys on behalf of a number of
large advertisers to determine what percentage of those clicks were happening on
the major search engines themselves as opposed to partners.
Yahoo was found to have the highest number of partners generating clicks —
1,196 of them beyond Yahoo Search itself. These partners generated 55% of all of
Yahoo’s paid search clicks. Yahoo itself generated 45%.
Though Yahoo generated fewer clicks on its own, those clicks on its own site
converted better. Of all Yahoo search clicks (on its own site or through
partners), 58% of the converting clicks came from Yahoo itself.
How does this show Yahoo converts better than its partners? The idea from
Efficient seems to be that if partner and "own site" clicks convert the same,
then the percentage should be the same. In other words, if Yahoo’s own clicks
make up 45% of total paid clicks, then you should also see 45% of total
converting clicks coming from Yahoo itself. Instead, you get 58% of converting
clicks from Yahoo. That suggests Yahoo ads convert better than those coming from
That’s probably right, but it would have been better if the exact conversion
rate for partner sites and Yahoo’s own sites were given. Then the figures could
be compared directly.
Google has many partners, too — but at 431, far less than Yahoo. Google also
generates the majority of its own search traffic, 59% — partners make up 41%.
Of all paid clicks, 75% of those generating conversions came from Google’s own
That’s good and bad for Google. Good that it’s less dependent on partners.
Good that traffic on its own site seems to convert so well. But bad that partner
sites seem to convert more poorly than Yahoo’s sites. But bear in mind, without
exact conversion rates being provided, this might not be entirely accurate.
As for Microsoft, it has only 5 partners — and those are other sites within
MSN. I wouldn’t consider these partners myself, and it suggests that at least a
small number of those "partners" counted for Yahoo and Google are actually sites
they own. But still, we’re mainly talking about what percentage of paid clicks
come off the "main" search site. For Microsoft, that’s 99%. And not
surprisingly, the percentage of paid search clicks that convert from Microsoft’s
core search engine is 100%. Those partners just don’t matter.