Last week, Microsoft announced a new search advertising strategy that aims to pay users who use the search engine to find and buy products from participating retailers. Nicknamed “the search that pays you back”, Microsoft’s Live Search Cashback is their latest attempt to make inroads on Google’s dominant market share.
Users simply register for free and search for cashback deals at Live Search cashback. The listings then display the cashback savings you’ll receive off the total price using this small icon: . Every time you use the service, Microsoft sends you an email to confirm your savings and when your account reaches $5 you can claim the money.
Below is a screenshot of what the cashback pages look like within the search results. You can see that it lists the cashback amount you get from various stores and the bottom line price you will pay:
For businesses, the search advertising model is a cost per action program, where advertisers only pay when a purchase is made. It allows participating stores to list their products at a fixed CPA so they can lock in their ROI.
Microsoft’s market share has been relatively steady for a while now claiming 9.1% of the total market behind Google and Yahoo!. Just 6 months ago they has 9.8% market share. Many analysts are calling the move a desperate attempt to gain market share – so it will be interesting to see how the public, and advertisers respond.