A press release timed to Satya Nadella’s keynote speech at PubCon, an online advertiser’s convention held in Las Vegas announced today that Live Search cashback “has seen positive traction in all three of the key metrics on which the company said it would report: number of offers in the system, advertiser return on investment (ROI), and percentage of commercial search queries as measured by comScore Inc.”. Microsoft is also announcing a new set of advertisers joining the cashback program, including AT&T, Drugstore, Inc., FTD, Gap, Inc, KMart, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“We are pleased to report a 30 percent increase in the number of product offers available in Microsoft Live Search cashback, indicative of the strong advertiser interest in the program and early results on its ROI,” said Brad Goldberg, general manager of Microsoft Live Search. “We have seen an average of 4.5 million unique users per month visiting cashback who have conducted more than 68 million commercial queries. We believe this early traction speaks to the differentiated and unique value proposition of Microsoft Live Search cashback for both consumers and advertisers, especially in these tough economic times.”
While the total US search market share has remained flat at best for Live Search, cashback is having an impact on potentially the most lucrative section of searches, commercial search. Again, according to the press release:
…according to a custom comScore study, in the second quarter of 2008, Microsoft Live Search referred almost 12 percent of total U.S. commercial online transactions and about 13 percent of total U.S. online spending among key retail categories. Microsoft Live Search placed among the top two U.S. engines in five of the 10 key commercial categories for conversion rate, including Computer Hardware, Movies & Videos, Home & Garden, Music, and Travel. Microsoft Live Search also shows a competitive advantage in attracting high-quality and high-spending buyers. Microsoft Live Search ranked as the top engine among the competitive set by a large margin in dollars spent per buyer, across the combined 10 key commercial categories.
Microsoft is also announcing a new set of APIs for Live search, called “Project Silk Road.” “The service includes a significant expansion to the Live Search APIs that enables publishers and web developers to monetize their traffic through search and provide their users with a customized, high quality search service that meets their specific needs.”, according to a Microsoft spokesman.