After years of quietly being a subset of Google, AOL search is now powered by Bing across all of the platform’s properties globally. The move was announced back in June of last year, and became official with a blog post commemorating the change on Monday.
SEM advertisers will see not only the AOL search network & owned and operated properties, but syndicated partners under the AOL search umbrella as well. Unlike when Google powered the network, advertisers will have the option to exclude AOL properties by viewing the Website URL report. AOL search network sites will not be bundled under the “Bing and Yahoo! Search Properties” flag.
Advertisers will not, however, have the ability to completely opt-out of AOL sites, as shown in the screenshot from one of my own Bing Ads accounts below:
Bing is still a potentially important channel for SEM—despite losing exclusivity with Yahoo late last year, and Facebook search in 2014—especially for advertisers maxed out or hitting diminishing returns on Google. Though AOL (now owned by Verizon), the fifth largest search engine in the US, won’t provide significant click volume (Bing themselves estimate a 5-8% lift), it may help make up for some of the drop-off due to the new Yahoo/Google pact.
The Bing/AOL Search pact is slated to last for at least the next ten years.