CAT | Yahoo Search Marketing

There has been some chatter about upgrades to Google Analytics planned for 2013.  There are a few opportunities that may present themselves and a few issues that could arise from the possible changes.

People ask us all the time, how can I track the value of a lead generated online when they are buying in the store. This was something that we solved using Yahoo web analytics.  When the lead was generated it received a customer id number, the information of that customer is stored with their permission and if a sale occurred the revenue was attributed to the marketing channel or channels in a multi-channel attribution model.  The ability to upload revenue tracked from a CRM like salesforce allowed our clients to make informed budgetary and strategic decisions. This is the case with many brick and mortar stores, businesses that require quotes, or any business that you cannot assign a given value to each lead.

Googles new regarding Universal analytics can be seen here.  The basic news reveals Googles plan to allow the ability to track across multiple devices as long as the user is signed in from that device, the ability to sync online and offline data, and an increased ability to track Mobile Application analytics.  It will allow users to create custom dimensions as well, such as store visits and so on.

The opportunities to pair mobile app metrics, location information, crm data and attribute revenue to each impression or visit will open up another niche of mobile and brick and mortar marketing and could mean big changes in analytics for showroomer’s and lead generation marketing alike.  The insight into quality of lead generated will allow users to make excellent decisions on budgets, impression frequency, channels used and collect ROI data that is unavailable without being hindered by technology costs.

Recently after opening the AdCenter Editor and attempting to download an account we would be confronted with annoying message “Microsoft.adCenter.Desktop has stopped working”.

We tried uninstalling and reinstalling about 20 times as well as every other solution we could find.  Nothing solved the problem.

Here’s what worked for us…

Renaming the old user.config file.  C:\users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mirosoft\MAF\LocalStore – Find the user.config file and name it something like user1.config

Let us know if it works for you.  Good Luck!

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You may notice when you log into some/all of your Yahoo accounts today 9/2/2010, you will have a notification screen which informs you to link your Yahoo! account and your adCenter account.

Against all odds, Yahoo and Microsoft appear to be on Schedule for the final integration into the AdCenter run Search Alliance. Let’s take a look at what’s involved:

You will be required to agree to selecting a check-box which states:

“(Required) By selecting this checkbox, I agree to allow Yahoo! to disclose all of my information (including my contact information, billing and payment information and credit card number, and account information) and transfer any remaining account balance to Microsoft for the purpose of Microsoft providing me with search advertising services.”

You will be given an option to select the check-box which states:

“(Optional) By selecting this checkbox, I authorize Yahoo! to copy to Microsoft adCenter any of my analytics data that has been or may be collected via Yahoo! Code on my website. If using Yahoo! Code on my website, I agree to update my privacy policy to notify my visitors that anonymous data may be collected by both Yahoo! and Microsoft.”

Once you continue by selecting the button at the bottom of the page, you will be brought to a Microsoft AdCenter login page. From here you will either log into your current AdCenter Account or Create a new one from scratch. At this point Yahoo will begin parsing your campaign data into MSN.

Compatibility Alerts:

MSN will ask you if they should increase low bids to AdCenters minimum Bid and if you want to continue to serve Canada ads.

Compatibility Check:

When the system finishes parsing your Yahoo campaign structure in Adcenter you will be presented with a number of compatibility issues which were found. <Remember: Yahoo”s keywords and Ads follow a completely different set of rules than AdWords and AdCenter. Headlines in ads can be greater than 25 characters and they have only 1 description line. Yahoo also runs with Standard and Advanced match keywords as opposed to Broad/Phrase/Exact.>

You now have 3 options:

  1. Fix Issues and Import:You will be shown your account structure with tabs for each settings/keywords/ads/etc. Red outlines will show where attention is needed. When completed, your Yahoo account will be 100% compatible with AdCenter.
  2. Import only compatible data:If there is a compatibility issue between the Yahoo and Ad Center structure then ignore it. Upload anything that doesn’t online casino need changing.
  3. Import all data later:You may want to select this option if you want to import your account structure from AdWords which is nearly 95% similar to AdCenter and would require only minimal campaign settings adjustments. It will save a copy of your Yahoo account to a csv file.

From here you are brought to screen which says: Transfer your Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts to Microsoft adCenter and a drop-down box which will allow you to select the adCenter account under the login you used to transfer to. The problem here is that AdCenter Will Not let me continue. After testing with 3 accounts the process gets derailed here. We are currently waiting on a response from the AdCenter team but we suspect that take some time with all of the questions advertisers are going to have.

I know the first thing that entered my mind when I read transfer any remaining account balance to Microsoft for the purpose of Microsoft was: Does this mean that Yahoo is finished as of today? Absolutely not. You need to continue advertising in Yahoo!. When exactly the funds from Yahoo! will be transferred is still vague though and another question we are waiting on.

3) Continue to manage your Yahoo! Search Marketing account
The last stage in the transition process will occur when Yahoo! Search ad serving moves to adCenter, which we expect to begin in mid-October and be completed by the end of October. During this period, you should expect traffic from your Yahoo! Search Marketing account to decrease, and increase in your adCenter account. But until this process is complete, you’ll still need to actively manage your Yahoo! Search Marketing account to have your ads displayed on Yahoo! and our partner sites.

I personally am looking forward to this transition as management will become a bit easier. I do have my concerns about the numerous advertisers who are now going to flood AdCenter. My particular concern revolves around the campaign imports. The vast majority of advertisers use Google and I see no reason anyone would go through the effort of modifying their Yahoo account when they can import their Google account in minutes. This means that instead of the low CPC bids from Yahoo being used, the Absurdly high CPC bids from Google are going to flow into AdCenter. Only time will tell if my concerns are warranted?

This week on Best Search Strategies, Clix Marketing CEO David Szetela joins in as a guest host to cover the current state of the search industry in respect to the Yahoo/Bing transition. The highly anticipated merger has left many search marketers wondering how this will affect everything in the future. So tune in this Wednesday at 2:00 PM (PST) to find out the details you should be aware of as the transition commences later this fall.

David Szetela’s topics will include:

  • How to prepare for the transition of Bing / Yahoo?
  • What is happening in the industry and how to stay ahead?
  • What bid management software is best for agencies?

And as always the shows airs every Wednesday at 2:00PM on Webmaster

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Alright, so you have your keyword list built out. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of keywords all ready and waiting to be typed in and searched by your beloved audience. You’re ready to get people on your site. You’re excited.

But here’s the snag: unless you’re running campaigns made entirely of exact match keywords, you’re going to need to throw in a few negatives to keep the undesirables out. And by a “throw in a few,” I mean “build a comprehensive list.”

Why? Well, first off, a lot of people underestimate the power of the negative keyword. But if you think about it, negatives refine the search process just as much as any other keyword. They all have the same purpose, though the methods are different: keywords bring certain people in and negative keywords keep certain people out. Like a guest list and a bouncer, respectively. You need both to throw a successful shindig.

Yeah, just roll with me on the analogies here.

Like this one: basically, negatives are the silly putty that plug the holes left by broad and phrase match keywords. Without them, your search funnel will be leaking all over the place. Which just leads to wasted money, in the end.

So what’s the first step? Keeping in mind that there are two different levels of negative keywords, the ad group level and the campaign level. And trust me, they’re not the same.

Ad group level negatives are best used to keep your ad groups completely separate from each other, so that search queries don’t trigger a broad match in one ad group when there’s an exact match in another ad group, one that happens to be much better suited for them. In other words, they keep your keywords in the ad groups they’re supposed to be in.

So really, all you need to do at the ad group is cross-examine your main keywords. For example, if you have Dog Toys and Squeaky Dog Toys ad groups, then you should probably make “squeaky” a negative keyword in the Dog Toys ad group. That way, anybody who types in “squeaky dog toys” gets ad creative from the right ad group.

That’s really it for ad group level negatives. Campaign level negatives, in the other hand, are a bit trickier.

The best method for those is to take a good look at your keyword list and think long and hard about what kind of searchers you want to exclude. In some cases, these might be fairly obvious (but not always), like a realtor excluding “courses,” “picture,” and “jobs.” The people typing those in are probably not the people a real estate agent is looking for.

But in other cases, negative keywords aren’t quite so straightforward. Sometimes, you can think of them right up front, which saves you a little time and money. But sometimes, you don’t catch them until later.

The good news is, any Google search can turn up a few good lists of negative keywords, both broad and for specific sectors. Most companies also have their own negative keyword lists that you can use.

Do not, however, just copy and paste them in; you’ll run the high risk of blindly excluding people that you actually really want. Instead, you want to go through and pick and choose which ones would be best for your campaign. Use the lists as a baseline and don’t give up on brainstorming some of your own.

The last and most important step? Keep updating your negative keyword list. Don’t give up once you’ve set up the account. The best thing you can do is consistently run search query reports and pick through the things people type in to make sure that they’re all in harmony with what you want. Over time, you’ll find more and more irrelevant and non-converting keywords to add to your pile.

And that is the spirit of optimization.

Dale Carnegie got it, Ashton Kutcher gets it, however many large companies with hundreds of thousands of visitor’s seemingly do not understand that Twitter is about winning friends and influencing people. Somewhere in between the hype and the effectiveness of social media are the managers that are either winning and influencing a positive reaction from follower’s or doing a good impression of comment trolls and offending customer’s. The fact of the matter is that your selection of the person managing your Twitter account can lead to a positive impact on your bottom line or a PR disaster.
Today a perfect example of this Double edged sword was displayed in a jaw dropping back and forth between a fan and an NFL team. We all know that fans get angry when a team they love is losing, they sometimes get irrationally angry. In this case the fan tweeted directly to the team that he was losing faith in the team and didn’t think they spent enough on players to be competitive. The complaint did have the numbers wrong and took an offensive approach.

KC Chiefs twitter war

Things got interesting when the team, rather than using the comments for the best and turning the angry fan into a revived cheerleader, decided to “let him have it” and stooped to his level.

KC Chiefs reply to TeeDubya tweet

This unsympathetic and aloof response must have seemed like it was not a big deal at the time of the tweet.  However, it set the twitter-sphere off and got a large amount of publicity.  So much so that the Chiefs had to offer a formal apology.

KC Chiefs twitter apology

At this point they have blocked the original twitter user and will have to explain themselves further to repair the image people have of the team being unprofessional and not caring for their customer’s, in this case their fans.
The double edged sword of twitter comes about when you are a large brand, forced into using social media by your customer’s and your industry and never embracing its’ value. This is a classic example of managing a large twitter identity without taking seriously it ability for good and bad effects. This one tweet could cost the team huge profits from merchandise, season tickets and bruise their public image for a long time.
Social media standards can help you prevent this from happening at your company.
1. Give your Social media interns standards for responses. Though we believe it is best to leave it to professional copy writer’s or PR reps, many companies have interns manage these accounts by necessity, make sure they ask themselves, “does this message represent the business in a positive light?” and “am I writing as an individual or as the business?”. In this case the tweet replied sounded more like a blog comment argument that was taken too personally. The apology uses the terms “I” and “my” showing that this individual is making statements for the organization though we still don’t know the individual. This takes the sincerity out of the apology. The organization, brand or business always needs to refer to itself as the whole and any apologies need to be directed towards the individual that was involved.
2. Look for a positive spin in any negative twitter message. There is an opportunity to talk about the great deal that the team got on any number of players this season, a great week of rushing, the increased cap space for next year or to invite the customer out to the stadium or the business for a tour. Thanking them for their long lasting loyalty to a small market team is important here. Make sure the customer feels glad that they got a response and extend gratitude that they had been buying in, ensure them that they can be proud of being involved with your business. Don’t ever talk down to the customer, remember, every opinion is true to the customer, whether it’s based on facts or not.
3. Turn answers into traffic and improvements in the business. Dive into the customer’s complaint and explain it in an article, tweet the article as a response and drive traffic to the site. For the Chief’s an article explaining how cap space rolls over to the next year would help drive traffic to the site resulting in higher traffic, ad revenue and possible merchandise sales. It would also resolve the issue with the customer. Another option for e-commerce companies is to ad the answer to the FAQ. You can use your customer’s complaints to improve your future customer’s experiences in pre-purchase, fulfillment and post purchase. Respond with a message showing that you appreciate their opinion and have gone so far to explain why it’s fair that someone may have that opinion and let them know, “here is what we are doing about it”.
4. Educate the customer don’t offend them. Sometimes customer’s become angry due to a lack of knowledge, this is not their fault. Explaining in depth is not a place for twitter but it can be done through references. This is also your best sales tool. Give them the knowledge that they need to change their mind and let them know that you are glad someone spoke up about their opinion.
5. Just let it go. Sometimes it’s best to simply let a comment go without getting too involved. There are many people out there who are attacking businesses and looking to get attention from it. Rarely there is a case for letting it the comment go when providing a response or an answer gives too much credibility to the question. Once again, this is rare since most issues like this have an amicable if not positive solution with the right response.
By not embracing the opportunities to connect with and manage customer’s, satisfied or otherwise, the organization dug itself a hole and looks as though the angry customer was completely right in their assertion. Having the wrong person control the account cost this team quite a bit of respect that could have been used to improve the bottom line, connect and help fans have a full understanding of the team they love.
We have greatly appreciated the opportunities that social media has enabled and have many friends that have helped us develop our understanding for the platform. If you are looking for consultation on your own account, please reach out to us.


If you have ever used Yahoo for search marketing, you will already be familiar with its lack of features.  With many rants and raves from search marketers, I think Yahoo has finally got a clue…  With that said, let’s get into what Yahoo is changing and how it will affect us.

1) Day Parting – Yahoo is finally stepping their game up and including day parting in settings.  You will now be able to increase, decrease, or pause bids altogether throughout the day without having to go in manually.  This has been a huge hassle for many when it comes to Yahoo. Many accounts that are in Yahoo need to be turned on and off throughout the day and until now, you would have had to do it manually.

2) Demographic Settings – You will now be able to adjust bid percentages by certain demographics like gender and age.  This feature is possible due to the registration process of Yahoo, where you are asked these questions as you sign up.  Although this will not be 100% accurate, it will be useful in many situations.

3) Zip Code Targeting – Along with demographic bidding, Yahoo is now allowing you to control your bids for certain zip codes.  If you find more actions resulting from certain zip codes, you can now focus and bump up the bid percentage to advertise more aggressively in that certain area. This will be certainly useful for businesses that want to focus on certain cities.

4) Updated Content Network – From experience, the Yahoo content network has been horrible. We have noticed that most of the Ads show up on very poor quality sites, mainly from other countries.  Yahoo is now saying that they have increased their control over which websites your Ads show on.  Their goal is to show your Ads on sites that are relevant to your keywords, which should have been the objective starting out.  Also Yahoo will be decreasing their minimum content bid for $0.10 to $0.05 to try to persuade advertisers with past negative experiences to give the content network another try.

These are the changes that have been promised by Yahoo.  Hopefully these changes will start a trend that will result in better results and ease of use.  Unfortunately we are still waiting on a desktop editor from them.

What do you think of these additions and what else do you think should be added/changed?

The ability to set up an Ad Scheduling / Day-Part bidding schedule within Yahoo was long overdue – but last April it was finally delivered to its advertisers.  Months have gone by and as it did, so did the number of accounts which we audited for errors and areas for improvement; (a complementary Engine Ready service). Eventually I started to see a pattern which may be costing numerous Yahoo! Search Marketing advertisers big.

If you use Ad Scheduling in Yahoo! Please continue to read…

When you setup the daily schedule for each of your campaigns you may or may not notice the extremely grayed out text stating:  <<Display ads based on: The audience’s time zone (default) Edit>>

If you click on the <<Edit>> button you can change this default setting to: Your Account Time Zone

Think about what this setting means and how it’s going to affect your traffic.

Most of the clients where I noticed this as a problem were those who valued calls or leads submitted during normal business hours (9am-5pm). Calls before or after this time go to an answering machine, leads sit until the next shift starts. These inbound “Hot Leads” can’t sit for long before they have no value.

Take a look at this hypothetical client and situation:

* Office Location: California (PST)
* Geo-Targeting: Entire USA
* Ad Scheduling: M-F 9am-5pm

If a Yahoo! advertiser sets up their campaign’s Ad Scheduling as listed above, they will soon start to realize that they are getting leads/Calls beginning at 7am (PST) and ending 8pm (PST)

Take a look the chart below.  It shows you in green when the office is open and in red when it is not.

Your account will be active in some part of the country for an additional 5 hours outside of your 9-5 office hours.  Up to 3 hours after you close, the entire Eastern Seaboard is still seeing your ads on and their partner sites.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that your Ad Scheduling settings correctly.

It is interesting that Yahoo! elected to default this setting to “Audience Time Zone” as opposed to “Account Time Zone” – A power user can certainly see how you could leverage this feature and test strategies which you are unable to do in Google nor MSN, but the vast majority of advertisers will neither take advantage of this feature nor see (in the faded gray text) that it is set up to run this way.

Did Yahoo! do it this way to maximize their advertisers spending – by showing ads during the prime time for each time zone? Who knows…

Related to Ad Scheduling / Day-Part bidding schedule within Yahoo, Google AdWords implement Demographic Bidding. This feature was one of the first to allow marketers to use one of their finest tools of the trade to target their customer, but it did not pan out for a number of reasons. We assume that the network was not converting or it simply was not being used to its fullest potential. The info that was provided by sites enrolled in it allowed display and content network ads to be displayed across demographic targets so businesses like wedding planners could target Females ages 20-35 so on so forth.

The addition of google + has been the assumed replacement for this type of bidding. However, we had not seen many clients utilizing this feature and now that retargeting is available in AdWords and we are able to target behavior groups, we have a better alternative.  As demographic bidding falls victim to its own demise we look forward to increased targeting through new Google + features and increased retargeting abilities in the display network. Remember if you are using Demographic Bidding, you will need to save your data by March 28th!  That’s Tomorrow!  if you save in csv form you can use software like strategy analyzer to analyze your results and compare to future data. For more info from google on the demise of Demographic Bidding visit the AdWords Help page.

At the end, this latest feature “Demographic Bidding” is buried in the AdWords graveyards.



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