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Bing sells more ads than you think and Google sells ads faster

By Stephen Kenwright | head of search

July 21, 2016 | 4 min read

When the last Search Report was published I wrote that Google was on a mission to monetise more organic space with the ability to advertise in Maps arriving a month after ads in the local pack. The AMP carousel is next.


At Tuesday’s DoubleClick summit, Google demoed AMP for Ads (A4A, for those who don’t like talking about Google in full sentences) with the intention of speeding up load times for advertisements on accelerated mobile pages.

When AMP debuted (bearing in mind that AMP isn’t actually Google’s initiative and is open source) ads didn’t appear to be front of mind. Most ad tech relies heavily on JavaScript which pretty much defeats the point of trying to load pages faster. A4A circumvents this by providing alternative activity measurement tools and limiting the use of JavaScript.

The GIF shows what a difference this can make in terms of how fast the ads load.

A4A is currently limited to a few publishers including the Guardian and the BBC, but it’s easy to see the appeal. Some publishers’ accelerated mobile pages fire so many ad scripts that load-time can exceed 10 seconds and are making the publishing industry’s ad block-shaped $20bn black hole look even more inevitable.

It should be painfully clear to brands by now that if they provide a faster experience they will make more money – with an average website estimated to lose 7 per cent of traffic for every second in load time delay – and the search engine clearly understands that its future depends on relentlessly improving how quickly and seamlessly it can serve results.

On the face of it A4A is an attempt to better monetise a technology that probably doesn’t have the required level of adoption just yet, but this time I’m willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt; if it allows advertisers to slow AMP down it will never reach critical mass.

Bing’s revenue

For those who have read the other Search Reports this year, “load faster” is a pretty consistent theme and one of the two things that, in my opinion, should be front of mind when navigating the search landscape in 2016. The other? You should give less money to Google and more money to Bing.

A couple of months ago I wrote just how much market share Microsoft’s search engine has quietly stolen from Mountain View and – despite reports of Facebook and Google’s duopoly on digital advertising following Cannes – Bing is looking likely to generate $5.3bn in revenue this fiscal year according to Gadfly.

Although a fraction of Google and Facebook, $5.3bn coming from losses climbing into the tens of billions of dollars represents 43 per cent growth YOY…

…and add to that context that it’s more than Yahoo is likely to make this year – and more than 2.5x more than Twitter makes from advertising – Bing has some serious momentum going into the next year that search marketers should look to be part of.

Stephen Kenwright is director of search at Branded3. You can follow him on Twitter at @stekenwright.

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