Reuters reports that Microsoft (MSFT) division president Kevin Johnson added more detail to Microsoft’s online ad ambitions at a UBS conference yesterday. Specifically, he said that within 3-5 years, Microsoft’s goal is to become the No. 2 player in online advertising with a “10, 20, 30, 40” plan:
- 10: Grow share of online pageviews from 6% now to 10%.
- 20: Boost share of minutes spent from 17% to 20%.
- 30: Grow share of search from 10% to 30% (dollars or queries? Not clear)
- 40: Grow share of advertising dollars from 6% to 40%
The first two goals are achievable. The second two are a pipe-dream–unless Microsoft buys Yahoo (YHOO)…
Based on Johnson’s comments, Microsoft still appears to think that search share is about technology (Johnson cited the age-old “relevance” pablum). It isn’t. Consumers aren’t going to switch search engines because of claims of better relevance.
Search share is about brand and habit. Unless Google falls asleep at the switch, there is no way that Microsoft will ever claw back 30% search share. It could have it tomorrow if it bought Yahoo, however.