International PPC: Optimizing Yandex Campaigns

As an agency, who manages PPC campaigns on Yandex, we strive to squeeze the maximum out of them. To gain efficiency on the Russian search engine, by trial and error, we test different strategies, experiment with Yandex.Direct’s new features and follow best practices of local Russian client managers. If you run campaigns on Yandex and wonder how to make them more efficient, you might find the following tips useful and worth trying.


Revise your campaigns’ structure

A year ago, when I was new to Yandex Direct, my campaigns’ structure looked somewhat similar to the structure in Google: a set of related keywords per one ad (Yandex did not have ad groups at that time). Later on, I learned that the best way to organize the campaign is the following. Use one keyword phrase per ad and make sure the keyword is mentioned in the ad. For example, if your keyword is “Microsoft Office for Mac” make sure to use it in the headline and/or the body of the ad. Doing so has the following advantages:
a) Anytime a user is searching for “Microsoft Office for Mac” on Yandex, your ad will appear with the headline in bold.
b) If you are using any third-party tools to track revenue, “one keyword per one ad” model allows the advertiser to track performance at the keyword level, which is not possible if we choose “many keywords per ad” structure.
c) Your ad’s overall CTR greatly affects the price you are paying for the premium placement position of your ad (Unlike Google, Yandex has no quality score and your ad’s position greatly depends on max CPC and CTR). Overall, the better the CTR of the KW, the better your ads’ CTR and the lower the price you will have to pay to be in the highest position. From this perspective, I would recommend to have one KW per ad with a strong CTR versus many KWs per ad with fluctuating CTRs.
One KW per campaign structure

Note: Restructuring your Yandex campaigns will reset your historical CTR and it will take a while to gain it back. Also, it leads to an increase in spend until you get your previous CTR back on track.
If you are at an agency, work with your Yandex representatives to see if they can help move your keywords around without losing your historical click-through-rate.


Add Quick Links aka Sitelinks

According to Yandex, quick links can increase ads’ CTR by up to 40 % and are an excellent quick resource to other products on your website. Up to 4 quick links can be added per ad and they are only displayed if ads appear in premium or guaranteed positions.

Revise your negatives

It is a good habit to check your negatives periodically to make sure they do not block relevant traffic and add new ones. In Yandex, negative keywords can be added at the campaign, ad and keyword level. Adding negatives , especially at the keyword level, can be time consuming. However, it is worth efforts and helps significantly reduce unprofitable clicks.


Work closely with your Yandex representative

From our experience, Yandex representatives have been extremely helpful and responsive. The Yandex team offers a free audit of existing campaigns and if an advertisers wishes, can create a media plan. At the final stage, the Yandex team sends an advertiser a link which reflects all the changes made to a specific campaign. For us, the team worked on expanding negative keywords, removing duplicates, adding ad templates (dynamic keyword insertion), making sure all the links go to relevant pages. If account managers agree with proposed changes, all they need to do is just to click the APPROVE button within each campaign.


Expand your keyword list

Wordstat is Yandex keyword research tool. By typing a keyword into the box, Wordstat will display the general number of impressions for this specific word plus the most popular phrases with this specific key term, which can further be expanded by clicking on it.


Chose right bidding strategy for your campaigns

In Yandex, there are two general types of bidding strategies—automated (CPC is done automatically) and manual (CPC is specified for each keyword). If advertisers want their ads to be displayed in the highest available position, the best option would be to choose the Highest Available Position strategy, where bids have to be manually specified for each keyword (as an option, daily budget can be set as well). The drawback of this strategy is that the bids should manually be updated several times each week. If manual bidding is not an option, an advertiser can set a campaign to run on a Weekly Budget (automated strategy).
Account managers choose from one of the following options:

Max Number of Clicks: keywords with a high CTR are pushed to higher positions, while bids are reduced for key terms with a low CTR

Max Conversion Rate: Yandex provides the max number of clicks for those keywords that result in most conversions for the weekly specified budget. It should also be noted, that Max Conversion Rate can only be selected the following criteria are met:
a) Yandex. Metrica counter is installed on the site
b) At least one goal is set
c) Total number of conversions over the last 28 days should be at least 40.

For us, the Weekly Budget Strategy works best. It eliminates the need to update bids manually and provides the maximum number of visitors to the website. In addition, priorities can be given to certain words. More on bidding in Yandex can be found here.

Optimizing Yandex campaigns is an ongoing process, which requires efforts, time and dedication. For our agency it is even more challenging, as we do not have Metrica on the site, one of the most powerful analytical tools for Yandex Direct. If you have Yandex optimization techniques you learned while working with Yandex Direct, please share. The more the better!

Point It About the author
No Comments

Leave a Comment: