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Bing: fewer ads means more relevance

Bing is displaying fewer ads on the first page of its search results in an effort to increase the relevance of its sponsored listings, finds a study.

A report from AdGooroo reveals a significant decline in the number of first-page ads when Microsoft replaced Live Search with Bing, it's new 'knowledge engine' last month.

The 'Search Engine Advertising Update Q209' measured a 5.5 per cent increase in first-page ads in May just before Bing was launched, followed by a 3 per cent decline after it went line in June.

In contrast, the number of first page ads on Google and Yahoo! have remained relatively static throughout the year, each displaying between five and six ads per keyword, compared to just three for Bing.

AdGooroo conducted a number of tests on keywords including 'Hawaii' on all three search engines. Google and Yahoo! returned results that were 'rather far afield', while Bing delivered three 'highly relevant' ads for Hawaii helicopter tours, Hawaii holiday rentals and Hawaiian tour packages.

'While this will go a long way to improving the user experience, it's also a boon for paid-search advertisers who have far less competition to deal with,' claims the AdGooroo report.

According to the study, Bing had a 13 per cent share of total international advertisers during June, adding big-name brands including Dell to its line up. Yahoo! commanded a 26 share, while Google continued to dominate the sector with 78 per cent of total international advertisers.

Bing managed to increase its advertiser base by 35 per cent year on year during June, ahead of Yahoo!'s 14 per cent, but behind Google's 52 per cent growth, claims the report.

While Bing may be proving a hit with advertisers, it is yet to catch on with consumers, according to JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan, who claims that internet users are happy with Google and don't see a reason to switch search engines.

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