April 29, 2011, 12:16 PM

Google is still on top of paid search, but Bing makes a case for better ROI

Although Google continues to dominate, the ROI for Bing rose in the first quarter while Google’s fell, Efficient Frontier reports.

Allison Enright


To no surprise, the first quarter was good for Google Inc., which took 79.1% of search engine marketing dollars, with the remainder going to rival Bing, according to Efficient Frontier, a provider of digital marketing technology and services.

But Bing, the Microsoft Corp. search engine that now powers search on Yahoo Inc.'s sites, has been on its own growth spurt. Since partnering with Yahoo in the third quarter of last year, Bing's market share in paid search has steadily increased, Efficient Frontier says.

And now there's evidence that marketers are getting more for the buck with Bing.

In this year's first quarter, Google's average cost-per-click was up 11% year over year, while Bing's increased only 4%, resulting in a higher return on investment for Bing search marketing campaigns, Efficient Frontier says. The company bases its analysis on an index of the firm's search engine marketing clients operating in the retail, travel, finance and automotive sectors, among others.

The return on investment for ads placed with Bing increased 10% year over year during the first quarter, while the ROI for ads placed with Google decreased 12%, Efficient Frontier says. The calculation includes returns for pay-per-click ads and display ads. "The higher return on Bing-Yahoo should cause rational advertisers to shift their advertising dollars from Google to Bing," the company says in its Q1 2011 Global Digital Marketing Performance Report.

Some retailers appear to be taking that advice as Bing's paid search market share grew from 12.5% in the third quarter of last year to 15.2% in Q1 of this year, Efficient Frontier says.



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