This week, Microsoft announced its new money saving enhancement to the Live Search shopping site with Cashback being added to the mix.
Live Search Products, which serves as a shopping comparison and product search service, will now have permanent integration of the Microsoft Cashback program, incentivizing shoppers for purchasing through the site.
The Cashback program was initially introduced to encourage greater usage of Live Search, and to provide advertisers with an important Pay for Performance model on the network. Users could identify incentivized ads by the cashback icon in the sponsored listings.
Sentiment around the Cashback concept was mixed. Some thought it was a clever way to grow search usage and loyalty, while others felt was a desperate attempt to buy market share away from Google and Yahoo!
Either way, the results must have been solid, if the company has decided to expand its usage. According to a Search Engine Land post:
- 20 of the top 50 online retailers in the US and 140 of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 are now participating in the program. These include new advertisers AT&T, Drugstore.com, FTD, Gap (including Banana Republic and Old Navy), Kmart, RedEnvelope and Saks Fifth Avenue.
- There’s a 30 percent increase in product offers available.
- There have been an average of 4.5 million unique users per month visiting Cashback who have conducted more than 68 million commercial queries.
Given the uptake of Cashback already, integration of the program into Live Search Products is a smart play to increase advertiser adoption. Retailers not included in the program will be disadvantaged when their products are displayed alongside Cashback retailers.
Microsoft have invested heavily is marketing and bolstering their search offering this year, and strategies like this which aim to capture greater share of vertical search markets are more likely to succeed than direct attempts to capture web search from Google!