With Yahoo Replacing Google on Firefox, Will SEM See a Lift?

Mozilla announced today that, following the expiration of their current contract, Yahoo will be replacing Google as the default search engine on Firefox.

Image via Mozilla

Is it time to re-think the pros & cons of that Bing/Yahoo SEM strategy many of you are currently not utilizing?


While Firefox was once considered the front-runner to challenge Internet Explorer’s then-dominating position, Google has done what Google is known to do, and since usurped both browsers’ positions at the top of the heap. As of last month, Firefox still commanded a 16% share of the US desktop market, though– certainly nothing to ignore.

As part of the 5-year agreement with Firefox, Yahoo will begin offering users a new version of their search experience, featuring “a clean, modern interface” that looks suspiciously very much like Google’s (which, may go a long way to getting users not to switch away from the default), as shown below. Yahoo will also honor Firefox users’ “Do Not Track” requests if selected.

Image via Mozilla

Google, and alternatives like DuckDuckGo, Bing, Amazon, Twitter, and Wikipedia, won’t be disappearing from Firefox’s search options. Mozilla plans on releasing the next update to Firefox in December, which will officially unveil the default search engine switch.

While there is no telling how this will impact search volume on Yahoo, it stands to reason that the network will see millions of new queries per month, which certainly will go a long way to improving ad revenue for the company.

For SEM analysts running campaigns on the Bing/Yahoo network, I would suggest monitoring campaign spend & performance during the hectic month of December, and if you have data available, looking at Year-over-Year for January, to see if any significant changes are noted. I don’t imagine it will take long to see a boost in volume, mind you– but given search volume in December can be erratic, I wouldn’t suggest viewing next month’s data alone as a long-term benchmark.

I will be doing the same with my campaigns, and will provide some immediate observations once available.

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