Google this, Google that. Google is no doubt the celebrity of search, creating formidable buzz and coverage with even the most inconsequential of updates: “How will the wavy Google Doodle affect your Ad Rank?! Jeremy Lin explains next.” I assume that Yahoo! and Bing have long grown weary of Google incessantly dominating conversations about search advertising. While Google continues to sustain a comfy search market share at 66%, Yahoo! and Bing cannot be eschewed with 14% and 15%, respectively.
For those unaware, Microsoft AdCenter is the platform used to manage ads on both the Yahoo! and Bing search engines (similar to AdWords with Google). AdCenter has recently re-launched a rehashed refresher of its captivating, feature-heavy ad format: Rich Ads in Search.
Once RAIS is enabled, which requires contacting a Yahoo! representative, it can be used to bid on up to 500 exact match branded keywords (it is currently available for branded terms only). Rich Ads will display in the top position only, displacing other standard text ads to the right side bar of the search results page. RAIS allows for inclusion of the following features in your ads:
- Additional links (think Google Sitelinks)
- Form Field
- Product Info
AdCenter claims that this format enhances existing campaigns by building a stronger brand presence through prominent placement, as well as generating higher click-through and conversion rates. In fact, RAIS allegedly averages a 30 – 35% click-through rate and a 40 – 50% higher click-through rate in comparison to standard text ads. They will be slightly more expensive though—bids must be higher in order to indicate that these Rich Ads are the preferred format. AdCenter recommends a 50% higher bid for RAIS than standard text ads.
It seems that the standout feature is the option to include a form field within your ad. For instance, a field could be included for zip code submission that would generate a list of nearby stores, a very appealing offer for local businesses. Also, the ability to include an engaging video within your ad is quite desirable and could provide that extra nudge needed to convert a searcher into a fan or consumer.
While Google remains the main event with the most packed arena, Yahoo! and Bing are making some concerted aesthetic changes to rally some of the crowd.