Yahoo today launched a new ad campaign for its search engine that stresses the security and convenience of using Yahoo Search. After relying on outside search providers (including Google) for a long time, Yahoo launched its own search engine in 2003, but even though it has constantly innovated and opened up its search index to developers, it has continuously lost market share to Google. By now, YouTube handles more search queries every day than Yahoo.
Boring Ads, Targeted at Mainstream Users
Unlike Microsoft's recent Seinfeld ads, the new campaign, which includes interactive flash ads and radio spots, is clearly geared towards a mainstream audience. The radio spot featured on Yahoo's blog, for example, stresses the security aspects of using Yahoo search, because "some search engines can lead you to dangerous links.". Yahoo also calls out Google by name in these ads ("we switched Melissa's Google page with Yahoo").
Can Advertising for Search Work?
Also, given the general history of search advertising, we are not sure this is going to help Yahoo gain back any ground from Google. After all, Ask.com's infamous 'algorithm' campaign did not exactly help Ask to gain any ground on its competitors either and Google does not even advertise its own search engine at all.
However, by focusing on mainstream users and security, Yahoo might just be giving consumers enough of a reason to at least try Yahoo's search again.
Here is one of Yahoo's new radio ads: