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Share of advertisers by search engine
Google on Monday said it would announce its fourth-quarter fiscal results on Jan. 22, and at least one search engine market research firm expects strong results.
In a report planned for release Tuesday, Chicago-based AdGooroo says that search advertising data for December "continues to support our thesis that Q4 will prove to be the strongest quarter on record for Google and Microsoft Live Search."
According to AdGooroo, Google led the competition during the fourth quarter with 58% growth in the average number of ads it showed on the first search results page per keyword (4.01 in 4Q vs. 2.54 in 3Q).
Google ran an average of 4.84 ads per keyword in December 2007, but it also has run fewer ads since then in an effort to improve ad quality and in response to seasonal cycles.
Microsoft Live Search came in second, with 3.37 ads per keyword, representing 42.3% growth.
Yahoo came in third with 3.01, representing growth of only 8.8%.
Microsoft continued to close the gap in advertiser share with Yahoo, AdGooroo observed, noting that if the company decided to acquire Yahoo, the number of large advertisers on the Live Search network would increase by 157%.
"This would have a dramatic effect on network CPC [keyword prices] due to increased competitive bidding pressure," the report states. One reason for this, the report speculates, is that "Live Search is widely reported to generate higher ROI for advertisers than Google, in part due to lesser competition for key terms."