What Advertisers Need to Know About The Yahoo Bing Merger

It’s happening, whether you like it or not. Anyone advertising on Yahoo Sponsored Search should, by now, have decided whether they are going to transition over all their accounts to Microsoft AdCenter, or throw all their apples in the Google AdWords bucket. (Yes, there are other, good, options of course, but given the rather large percentage of search traffic on Google, they’re pretty hard to ignore.)

So AdCenter is already controlling a percentage of ads on Yahoo and their partner networks, and believe it or not, Yahoo Sponsored Search will officially disappear in the not-to-distant future…as in a few weeks according to most insiders. (Can you believe it’s actually happening?!?!) Have you done everything you can in the AdCenter UI to make sure campaigns, ad groups and keywords are set up and running properly AND are targeting the most relevant traffic?

We’re not going to go thru an entire checklist of items that you should and shouldn’t worry about. Instead we’re going to look at one setting that you MUST pay attention to in the AdCenter tool: ad distribution.

What is it? AdCenter provides three options for distributing ads: Only Yahoo/Bing websites, Only Yahoo/Bing syndicated search partners or …everything, everywhere – Yahoo, Bing and ALL their partners

AdCenter Paid Search Advertising Distribution Networks

While there is no option to only advertise on Bing vs. Yahoo (many folks will argue that Bing converts better) these are still very important settings to pay attention to.

Here’s why:

For anyone who has taken the time to compare overall advertising performance between the Yahoo websites and their syndicated search partners, you know the results can be vastly different. More often that not, their search partner sites don’t perform nearly as well. Yes, they receive a lot of traffic, but CTR tends to be lower and the conversion rates not as good. (This, I believe, is where the argument over Bing vs. Yahoo conversion rates stems from.) This doesn’t mean you should stop showing ads on their partner sites. It just means you need to be a bit more watchful.

So what do you need to do?

  • We recommend that initially, you mirror all your campaigns so you have one running with settings of “Only Bing and Yahoo websites” and one running on “Only Bing and Yahoo syndicated search partners”. Watch performance and traffic patterns closely and make changes as necessary. For example, keep max CPC bids on the latter a bit lower initially, as the quality of traffic tends to be less and you don’t want to throw away a lot of $$$ if returns aren’t there
  • If you’re meeting your CPA goals, then you may want to consider raising bids to maintain higher position (this is true regardless of the network)
  • On the other hand, if you’re getting lots of traffic but no leads or conversions, consider pausing under-performing keywords (adding negative keywords too) or ad groups, or look at making some ad copy changes.

Regardless, by breaking up campaigns and watching performance across the various networks, it’s much easier to see what is, and is not, performing well and make adjustments quickly.

Katy Tonkin About the author
  • Lisa Sanner

    Good tip Ian! Thanks for highlighting that important setting and how to make it work (optimize seperately) if you are even thinking about partner traffic.

    October 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm
  • Pete

    This post was really helpful. Thank you!

    November 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

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