Why Does SMS Focus So Much on Google Adwords?

Bob Dumouchel

Sometimes people ask us why we focus so much on Google and Google Adwords, the short answer is volume. While we do run PPC campaigns in the Big 3 (Google, Yahoo, and MSN), we focus the most attention on Google because of its overwhelming market share.

How do you know Google is the biggest volume search engine?

Both SMS and others within the industry have studied the topic to try to figure out which search engines provide the most traffic and business. I did my own scientific testing (I deemed it scientific because I wore a lab coat and goggles) by running the exact same ad groups and ads in Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft Adcenter (btw, I didn’t use content networks, just pure search). Over about 45 days tens of thousands of impressions and a few thousand clicks I had my answers.

Google Adwords won in both clicks and impressions with Yahoo and MSN taking 2 & 3 respectively. Yahoo actually pulled pretty close in search volume, but Google outpaced them severely in actual visits delivered.

In my tests Google had 49% of the total impressions and 72% of the clicks. Yahoo Search Marketing came in with 44% of the total impressions and 21% of the clicks. And lastly MSN Adcenter despite its best efforts only mustered about 7% and about 7% of the clicks. Now although this wasn’t the most extensive study ever done on the topic, the results are pretty clear. And if you look for bigger studies the actual numbers are always different, but the rankings are always the same Google, Yahoo, and then MSN.

search volume

How do I leverage this information for PPC Success?

The way we like to do things is from the top down. Build an Adwords account in Google, get all the bugs out, perfect your message and then make a move into Yahoo. The Yahoo account will give you more perspective on search trends and patterns, and once you’re settled in if you have the budget for it give MSN a shot. At the present time I wouldn’t focus much attention on anything below MSN unless it’s an industry specific search engine that relates to your business.

Each PPC program has its own tools and quirks, and each one will teach you something about your target customers, but ultimately Google is probably going give your business the most bang for your buck and should be the initial focus of any foray into Search Engine Marketing.