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Yahoo Search Marketing Updates

06/01/06

I just got off the phone with a Yahoo representative who answered some questions about the upcoming upgrades to the Yahoo Search Marketing system. First, for those of you not familiar with the news, Yahoo plans to launch a completely revamped version of their popular CPC system formerly known as Overture. This new system will be initially limited to US accounts though international variations will follow. A drastic change, it involves not only a new interface for adding and editing campaigns, but also several new features and a completely new way of ranking paid advertisements.

The migration to the new Yahoo Search Marketing system is slated to take place at the end of Q3 2006 (that's late September of this year). Though the changeover date will be staggered and unpublished, Yahoo does promise to keep all current advertisers informed with email updates, online training opportunities, and webinars to familiarize us with the new system. Some of the key changes include...

  • What we manage now as "categories" will change to "campaigns" which can be built from multiple "ad groups" or specific keywords.
  • Bidding will no longer determine ad position. The new system will consider several factors when determining the rankings of paid placement including not only the bid but also a "quality index". This system is not too dissimilar from the system currently in place with Google AdWords; factors such as clickthrough statistics, the relevance of ad copy to the keywords, and the quality of the landing page (relevance, available content, calls to action) can raise or lower your position regardless of the bid amount.
  • Geotargeting will be available so that ads can be restricted to specific markets, states, and metro areas.
  • The editorial process will be streamlined... no more waiting for new ads to be reviewed by a human befor they go live. The new system will first scan new submissions for "sensitive" material such as adult content and potentially copyrighted phrases. If none is found, the ads will go live immediately and may be reviewed in post by a Yahoo editor. This simple change will allow advertisers to manage campaigns more efficiently as well as provide the opportunity to more effectively test multiple variations ad copy.

If you have a current Yahoo Search Marketing account, you soon may be receiving information pertaining to the new system's launch. Eventually, this fall, you'll get the news that your account is ready to transition from old to new. Once you get the green light, you'll have a one week grace period to continue using the old system while you familiarize yourself with a live demo of the new system. As soon as you're comfortable with the changes, just one click of the mouse will begin the data transfer and system updates for your account. It's important to note that due to certain technical aspects of this rollout, you won't have access to the account while Yahoo crunches the data. Testers report that even the largest Yahoo Search Marketing accounts will take less than eight hours to complete the transfer. Even so, Yahoo suggests that campaign managers authorize the transition at the end of the work day to minimize the effects of this interruption of service.

One last word of advise from the gentleman I spoke with... Don't change your login password during the upgrade period. Apparently the system won't be able to update correctly if the old and new accounts don't match exactly.

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