Fun Facts & Tips About AdCenter and Yahoo Paid Search Alliance

Look out it’s coming, the rhymes with “bustercluck” search alliance known as Microhoo. Or as they like to call it “the creation of the unified marketplace.”
As we paid search marketers are all aware, October is the intended date in which the Yahoo paid search interface will cease to exist and everything will be managed within the MSN adCenter interface. Information is slow, but forthcoming and it would appear in most cases, the Yahoo reps don’t have that many more details than the paid search community does yet. But, I was able to glean some tidbits and round up some quirks that you might want to look out of as you begin the transition…some of these apply to those that will be brand new to the MSN stage and others serve as reminder on the difference between Yahoo and MSN.

  • Download the Microsoft adCenter Desktop tool to help with moving keywords, copying ads (it does NOT copy the ad ID number thankfully), copying keywords or creating new ad groups. Be warned though- the newest version is super prone to crashing. Every machine I have installed it on and then added an ad group with has exited the program immediately and annoyingly after. It saves the changes and is consistent on when it crashes though.
  • There are 3 options for the transition:
    Option 1: Keep your existing adCenter account and augment.
    Option 2: Create a new adCenter account and import your 3rd party structure.
    Option 3: Create a new adCenter account and import your Yahoo! structure.
    Choose your poison wisely! The rule of thumb on all 3 of these is start SOONER rather than later, even if you just pause it until it’s closer to the release date.
  • Don’t forget Canada. Yahoo defines the US and Canada as a single marketplace. Bing does not. If you are catering to Canada in your paid search efforts, be sure to add that market or create a new campaign that does.
  • Don’t forget to tag! Or update your tags! Add that UTM tracking code to the back end of your ads, particularly if you’re a Google Analytics user. If you end up uploading from Yahoo into MSN, make sure you change over any tagging.
  • It’s all one big mess. I asked. Repeatedly. There will NOT be a way to determine in GA what clicks came from Yahoo search and which came from Bing. If ads are tagged the way they have to be to show up in GA as CPC, they will all show as Bing. Until someone figures out how to get around it…
  • There will NOT be a report in the adCenter interface that allows you to see which one of the search engines had X number of impressions or clicks. It’s all part of the “unified marketplace.”
  • There WILL be reporting for partner networks still. While you will not be able to tell which is a Yahoo partner and which is a Bing, you will be able to see the URL and exclude it if need be. Each of the engines is keeping their partner networks to themselves as their own property, but serving ads on all of them through the unified marketplace.
  • There will be an overhaul to the way invoicing is done on adCenter. Currently advertisers on invoicing set a budget on a quarterly basis that they work towards as their ceiling. This system will see a make over as far as how high the ceiling is and how it’s applied to deal with the increase in volume and spend. Look for more on this in August.
  • Watch the budget settings! It’s sometimes prudent in an adCenter campaign to set “spend until depleted” on a campaign for a setting. But if that setting is still in place for the transition and then a mass of traffic comes rushing through the door from Yahoo and you didn’t set a daily budget also…you might be out of money a lot faster than you anticipated. No idea yet if the budget options will see a make over as well. (Let’s hope so.)
  • Lots of tinkering going on, the adCenter interface saw a make over in mid-June, don’t be surprised if more happens between now and October. Like being able to flip between “simple” and “interactive” views on the dashboard.
  • Do some house cleaning now on your adCenter account- particularly if you are running ads on their partner or content networks. Run some website placement performance reports or a publisher performance report to see who should be excluded.
  • You can target the unified marketplace search by time of day, gender and age, but only in the adCenter preset ranges. (Boo. Cross your fingers for an upgrade.)
  • Set up conversion tracking now. Don’t wait until September. It’s always good to have a back up, you never know who’s not going to play nice with who.
  • And if you haven’t yet, sign up for the Yahoo/MSN paid search blogs. They’ve been announcing stuff there.

I’ll write up some more later this month just on adCenter, things you can get away with, things to try and things to look out for, gleaned from my SMX Advanced presentation last month.

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