I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog lately – thanks for sticking around – I’ll try to catch up and start posting more regularly (hopefully better stuff, too).

Google PWNS usGoogle just announced the launch of Ad Manager, leveraging their previous acquisition of Double Click. It’s kind of a big deal and it will only further strengthen Google’s grip on the internet ad market. That’s unless of course people eventually become weary of Google’s “house of candies” (think Hansel and Gretel), but I doubt that.

There’s some talk of Google reaching 90% market share (Skrenta, Graywolf , JC) and that’s not an unlikely scenario (think that’s crazy? gas is $4.00, gold is $1,000 / ounce. We live in crazy times.) Now that Ask has thrown in the towel and Yahoo and MSN are heading toward an awkward bureaucratic marriage, there’s little to stop Google.

As someone who’s had a lot of experience with PPC – Google Adwords, MSN Adcenter, and Yahoo Search Marketing – let me present the case from an advertiser’s perspective.

Having worked with all 3 SEM platforms, I can only see Google’s market share growing and Y/M’s dwindling in the future – Adwords beats the other 2 hands down. Yahoo’s Panama was a step in the right direction, but they’re still SO far behind. (and Adcenter makes me want to tear my hair out).

Here’s a recent example of why Adwords is SO far better than Y/M combined. In February we ran ads in all 3 systems for (let’s call it) “red widgets.” We setup campaigns in all 3 engines with the same bid amounts.

Volume

Impressions and clicks across each:

  • Adwords: 852,242 impressions, 48,950 clicks
  • Yahoo SM: 220,204 impressions, 8,293 clicks
  • MSN Adcenter: 33,213 impressions, 2,985 clicks

As an advertiser, which system do you think deserves (by far) the most attention and effort? Besides – the issue of volume is only the beginning.

Ad approval times

Adwords ads are usually approved instantly – this makes a huge difference for split testing and running offers that change regularly. We can rotate ads and split test 10 different versions in the same amount of time it takes for Yahoo to approve even 1 ad (Yahoo usually takes a few days to approve ads).

Microsoft is even worse in this regard. I’ve had ads waiting for approval for 3 weeks. I’ve had to get Adcenter reps on the phone at least 3 times, and the last go-round took 5-6 days just for the ads to start showing. When asked about the ridiculous lead times, the rep said “we’re just picker with ads, this is for your benefit” – typical MS BS.

Usability

When you’re working with a large number of ads, you really see the difference in loading times when you’re switching between ad groups, writing new ads, changing date ranges, etc. Google is enormously faster, auto-logs you in, and is far more intuitive and easier to work with than the other 2.

So let’s recap. Adwords sends 6 times more volume than YSM (and 16 times more than Adcenter), approves ads instantly instead of making you wait 2 days to 3 weeks – this combination of volume and speed lets you split test way faster – and is by an order of magnitude easier to use and more intuitive – plus it’s optimized to load faster.

It’s not even a contest. The Google juggernaut will keep rolling over the other two as long as it keeps gaining market share in search & ads. Google understands usability and they are continuing to dominate the ad market. As long as they keep providing tools that are far more effective, intuitive, and user-friendly – they will keep winning.