Yahoo!’s recent moves to bolster its contextual search offering – the launch of the Gemini mobile marketplace and its new partnership with Yelp – show that the company is recommitting itself to paid search and swiftly taking action to support this shift.
These developments also portend a break-up between Yahoo! and Bing, and thus the end of the Yahoo Bing Network as we know it.
Gemini, a marketplace for mobile search ads, operates in a totally separate interface from Bing Ads and receives solely Yahoo! traffic – two major signs of dissolution in the Yahoo Bing marriage. This separate, more focused marketplace could prove more profitable to advertisers by providing mobile-specific optimisations, leading advertisers to move their money away from Bing and into the hands of its former partner.
The creation of Gemini also reflects Yahoo!’s interest in contextual search. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer says contextual search – which factors time, location, and previous behaviour into the results for a query – is something that makes her “really excited.”
With its mobile focus, Gemini gives Yahoo! a playground to fine-tune its contextual search product line and master location-based search. Contextual search and mobile go hand in hand, as on-the-go usage allows for more location-based advertising options.
Additionally, Yahoo!’s new partnership with Yelp adds another component to its contextual search offerings. Well-executed and relevant reviews geared towards local searches on mobile devices could draw even more search revenue back into Yahoo!’s hands by offering features Bing lacks. The new Yelp partnership serves as another point of difference between Yahoo! and Bing, and likely gives Yahoo! the advantage.
Mayer is openly and wholly “bullish” about search, and Yahoo!’s recent maneuvers clearly reflect it. Reclaiming desktop search seems like a natural progression. At that point, Yahoo! would be an independent actor, adding more competition and room for innovation to the PPC landscape. For Bing, it likely means a partner turned competitor in the paid search game.