In September of this year, Yahoo! announced the formation of a Digital Advisory Council to drive discussions with advertisers. Our agency was invited and we welcomed the invitation to listen to what Yahoo had to say and provide some feedback. Our office being literally less than ten minutes away made the decision a little bit easier!
During the meeting we were told that we are under an NDA so I won’t go into the specifics. But here are some comments and thoughts:
- We applaud Yahoo’s efforts to be open, reach out to their clients (advertisers and agencies), and solicit their input. That spirit was felt throughout the council meeting, from the Senior VP that hosted the event to managers and other Yahoo staff. They really wanted to be transparent and sought input from us. Good job, Yahoo!
- Despite the poor picture that might have been portrayed in the news about Yahoo and search, we were reminded that Yahoo! is still a profitable company and has some very high traffic sites, including Yahoo! Sports (we were told it has more traffic than ESPN) and Yahoo! News (gets more traffic than CNN). I didn’t know that and I would say it is pretty impressive!
- Various folks from Yahoo! presented about new features and innovations (sorry, can’t blog about it yet 🙁 ) but expect to hear from Yahoo! on areas they are strong in, including Display (banner) Advertisement.
- There was a talk about Traffic Quality and the favorite discussion topic of click fraud. Without spilling their beans, we got a better picture of how Yahoo! handles click fraud and also learned that you can get reports from within your Yahoo! Search marketing account about credits your accounts is getting for false clicks.
- Lunch was really good too, including the Israeli Couscous which was very tasty! To be fair, I have to say that the food in Mountain View during the GAAC Summit was really good too.
So in summary, I am really glad to see Yahoo! opening up and creating additional forums to communicate with advertisers and agencies.
While we are on the subject of Yahoo! Search Marketing, there is another topic that we have been wanting to blog about but didn’t get to until now. Yahoo! has a mechanism of optimizing your accounts and campaigns on their own! Yes, that means without your
knowledge. Maybe this is not so recent but many clients I speak with are still not aware of this mechanism, so it is important that we share it. The following was drafted by a couple of folks in the office:
We hope you are aware of Yahoo’s decision to optimize PPC accounts by creating optimized campaigns on their own and running them without checking with the client. As strange as this may sound, it is very true! For a regular advertiser who doesn’t tag his campaigns and review them in any analytics tool, this may not be that bad. For those who do tag their campaigns and review all of their traffic sources and conversions via an analytics tool, this could be trouble.
Yahoo does the whole nine yards when it comes to campaign creation (naming convention, ad group, keywords, ad copy) but they miss a very crucial step. They don’t tag the campaign at all with tracking parameters so a web analytics tool can recognize it as PPC traffic. This means traffic from this new campaign will be recorded as organic traffic and will dilute the quality of your data. The number of visits attributed to Yahoo cpc and Yahoo organic will be wrong, and conversion rates for these two sources will be subject to speculation.
There are two ways that you can deal with this issue:
- If you would like to try these optimized campaigns and see how they will perform while capturing the data properly in your analytics account, you need to go to your Ads under the AdGroup they created and make sure that you tag the destination URLs properly. If you are using Google Analytics, here is a good post from our friends at PPC Hero that will help you.
- Otherwise, once you see a new optimized campaign in your account, pause or delete it and make sure that you opt-out from this service. You can opt-out by submitting a request to Yahoo customer support.
If you have too many campaigns in your own or your client’s accounts, the easiest way to spot the Yahoo optimized campaigns is by their naming convention. See the below snapshot for an example.
My request to Yahoo! is that they back out of this practice and allow user more control before they turn campaigns on and spend someone else’s money!