Yahoo is set to release two search advertising tools in Sponsored Search next week before the company reports earnings on Jan. 26.
Despite the agreement with Microsoft to power the search engine's backend infrastructure, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo continues to invest in advertising and consumer search tools. This time the company is releasing Network Distribution, and Import Campaigns.
David Pann, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Search Advertising, tells Online Media Daily that Yahoo's investment in targeting tools provides another option for advertisers to reach consumers -- an alternative to Google AdWords. So the hope is that these tools will end up in Microsoft's search platform and adCenter.
Network Distribution aims to give advertisers more control over where ads appear. The feature has three settings: Entire Network, Yahoo Search, and Yahoo Partners. It enables advertisers to adjust bids to meet performance goals and apply custom pricing or premiums and discounts to specific parts of the network. Applying network distribution settings on the campaign or ad group level offers greater control. The feature also allows advertisers to maximize campaign performance by using traffic source insights.
The Import Campaigns feature provides an easy way to convert campaigns from Google AdWords into Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns. Advertisers that are ready to convert Google AdWords campaigns into Yahoo Search Marketing simply select the browse button to upload files. Select the "Import File" button to start the process. The feature provides a summary of the information being converted.
The feedback file holds assumptions and warnings related to the file being uploaded, such as whether a broad or phrase keyword match needed to map to Yahoo's advanced feature. If a keyword did not have a bid, Yahoo's application would set the bid to the minimum dollar amount.
One of the biggest complaints from advertisers has been the tedious process of importing online campaigns into more than one search platform. Each engine relies on different types of files and formats. Many advertisers such as Brad Butler, chief operating officer at Asadart Ecommerce Specialty Shops, begin their campaigns on Google, simply because AdWords has been easier to understand and use.
"Nice idea, but at the end of the day I want results," were the first words out of Butler's mouth after hearing about the new features.
Butler runs several online stores. "It's like putting lipstick on a pig," he says. "It's a good idea, but I remember talking to my rep about it a few years ago. Hey, guys, you're three years late to the party."
Butler's Yahoo account reps used to import AdWords files for him. The rep would come back a week later after completing the job. It just took too long, he says. That's one reason that last year, Butler spent about $50,000 with Yahoo, compared with $1.2 million with Google.
Yahoo has also highlighted a few consumer tools it launched during the past few weeks, such as updates to its search results, which the company says are more relevant. These include shortcuts for Twitter tweets, news links, and Yahoo's video search.