On January 17, Microsoft and Verizon announced an update to the partnership that has long existed in various iterations between Yahoo, AOL and Bing search ad networks.

Verizon-owned AOL and Yahoo are both under the ownership of Verizon Media Group, which used to be known as Oath.  Microsoft and Yahoo has had a somewhat convoluted and sometimes strained partnership since 2009.

Due to this partnership update, Bing Ads will be the exclusive search adverting platform Verizon Media properties, such as AOL and Yahoo.

In 2015, when Microsoft and Yahoo (who was independent at the time) renegotiated their search advertising partnership, Yahoo wanted to build up the Gemini platform.  At the time, the company retained the right to serve up to 49 percent of search ads on its properties through Gemini or other partners, while the other 51 percent flowed through Bing Ads.  The new arrangement cedes all search ad serving to Bing Ads, eliminating any share of Yahoo search inventory Google may have had prior to the new deal.  This includes inventory on:

  • Aol.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • AOL Mail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • Huffington Post
  • TechCrunch
  • Other Verizon-owned properties

This arrangement even affects native advertising, as Microsoft is introducing new placements on MSN.  Oath Ad Platforms’ Native Marketplace will now have exclusive third-party access to the new native ad inventory on MSN.  The Microsoft Audience Network for native ads will have access to inventory on Verizon Media properties as well as new MSN placements called End of Article Block and Gallery Interstitial.  Any native ad performance that comes from Verizon Media properties are now going to be reported in the Bing Ads UI as syndication traffic.

With AOL still around (which is surprising to some people I’d imagine), Bing Ads will continue serving organic results and ads on the Network.  Bing Ads took over the AOL search business from Google in 2015.

With this new partnership, search ad buyers can reach audiences Yahoo through one platform.  This could lead to an increase in clicks of 10 to 15 percent in the US.

“While exact results will vary by client, Bing Ads users should closely monitor their budgets to ensure they are ready to capture these potential increases in click volume,” said Kya Sainsbury-Carter, VP of global partner service for ad sales at Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft even highlights its audience targeting and optimization capabilities powered by the Microsoft Graph, which includes LinkedIn data, and Microsoft AI.

The companies expect to complete the transition worldwide by the end of March.

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