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So, You’re Still Not a Gemini?

unnamed-18Back in May I wrote a preview outlining some of what we could expect from the revised partnership agreement between Yahoo! and Bing while advising clients and agencies to not to let the opportunity to jump in ahead of other advertisers slip away. Unfortunately, between the large percentage of advertisers still unwilling to embrace Bing and the added difficulties in Gemini’s current campaign user interface, odds are most still haven’t taken the plunge. The good news is that we have taken the summer to wrestle with Castor and Pollux and want to share our first read results showcasing the opportunities that exist on the engine. Let’s take a look at some highlights from test programs we’ve run to date.

Before diving into the specifics let’s take a step back and talk data. All of the results shared below are composites showcasing performance across several test accounts. Data represents at least three months and directly compares performance against Google and Bing in the same accounts. To date, scale has been one of the limiting factors on Gemini and at present the share of any one account’s SEM budget does not exceed 10% for Gemini.

Front End Data

The chart below showcases the overall front end metrics of Gemini as compared to Bing and Google. The bars represent cost-per-click (CPC) while the data points represent click-through-rate (CTR):

Gemini1

As predicted, Gemini is returning a less expensive average CPC than either Bing or Google. Surprisingly, however, the CTR on Gemini remained higher than Bing throughout the summer months. Since the majority of Gemini’s exclusive inventory would be mobile we had anticipated a lower CTR out of the gate.

Speaking of mobile, the differences in efficiency become more apparent when looking at mobile device performance alone:

Gemini2

Here we can clearly see that Gemini benefits from having fewer advertisers and lower overall levels of competition. You’ll notice that CTR here is lower than on Bing and this may seem counter-intuitive – more on this below.

One final takeaway on front-end metrics: you can see here clearly that Bing continues to provide an efficiency advantage when compared to Google as well.

Back End Performance: Traffic Quality

Efficient clicks are great, but what about conversion and quality? The chart below outlines a comparison of cost-per-engagement between the three engines. Blue bars show all devices while the red bars break out mobile separately:

Gemini3

The data from our tests indicate that Gemini performs better on the back end on mobile devices and is the most efficient engine of the three. This makes sense when you consider that mobile inventory remains the initial focus of Gemini throughout the summer months and into Q3 this year. This likely also explains our observations on CTR above – the mobile Gemini user appeared more qualified in our tests and was more likely to self-select which ads they chose to interact with. Via desktop, the story was different and the data revealed more users willing to click while less were willing to convert.

All in all Gemini represents a great opportunity to exploit a first mover strategy especially for mobile. While I would expect desktop performance to remain volatile in 2015 as Bing and Yahoo! continue separating desktop traffic, Gemini desktop campaigns still represent a great opportunity to test and learn the ins and outs of advertising on Gemini.

Oliver Nelson is currently a Media Director at Underscore, across several healthcare, pharmaceutical and OTC categories with a focus on digital display, social media,  search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO.) Recently, Mr. Nelson worked on the largest drug launch in US history. While Mr. Nelson’s passion lies with SEO, he has over ten years’ experience in retail and corporate marketing, sales and advertising and has managed both online and offline media campaigns for several private and public organizations.

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