Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Modest Results for Microsoft’s Marketing Blitz. Now It’s Yahoo’s Turn.

poolAnother month, another half-point: Microsoft’s search market share crept up again in August, according to the newest numbers from comScore. Since Steve Ballmer and company launched Bing at the end of May with a $100 million marketing push, they’ve moved from eight percent to 9.3 percent.

Per usual, you can either argue that these modest gains are good news for Microsoft (MSFT), especially because they come after months of declines. Or you can argue that they are way too modest, given the hype and the media blitz that accompanied the launch.

My question: If you’re Carol Bartz and company and you’re about to launch a Bing-sized marketing campaign of your own, do Microsoft’s results give you encouragement or pause?

Again, the half-full argument is that the Bing blitz proves that given enough brute force, you can indeed use offline advertising to change online behavior, at least in the short term.

Half-empty: At least Microsoft’s pitch has an intriguing come-on–”Hey you! We’ve got a search engine that works better than Google (GOOG)! Come see for yourself!” But unless I’m missing something, there’s nothing equally compelling powering Yahoo’s “Its You!” push.

Maybe I’m wrong: Yahoo (YHOO) formally takes the drapes off its campaign this morning at a series of Advertising Week events. I’ll report back a little later today.

In the meantime, here are the newest comScore (SCOR) numbers, courtesy of JP Morgan’s Imran Khan (click on table to enlarge):

comscore august search share

[Image credit: Seattle Municipal Archives]


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald