The More Sponsors pilot program adds links at the bottom of search results on Yahoo, offering the ability to view more Sponsored Search ads related to their original search query.
Clicking on one of the More Sponsors links brings up a page with only Sponsored Search ads, allowing consumers to peruse through the specific product offerings and discounts mentioned in the ads.
Yahoo's Search Assist features the search technology introduced last year that makes suggestions on related search terms and supports More Sponsors. For example, the consumer might type in "flower," and Yahoo might suggest roses or delivery. Blending several technologies aims to improve the experience for consumers, Pann says.
Yahoo will initially launch on Yahoo Search, but will look at ways to make it available across the Yahoo Network where sponsored ads appear. The text-based ads could eventually include a logo or some sort of image or graphic. "We're looking at ways to test new formats and treatments of search ads to improve the consumer experience," Pann says. "Once we have the page that supports the More Sponsored ads, we can test different treatments of the ads on the page."
Advertisers can begin purchasing the paid-click ads through the Yahoo Search Marketing system, which will cost the same as standard search results. Marketers will bid on keywords. The ads are ranked based on bid and quality. When the consumer clicks on the More Sponsored links, this executes another search.
The platform will select the ads based on search terms. If the ads are ranked highly in standard sponsored results for a given search term, they will likely be shown in sponsored-only results for that same search term. Yahoo will just serve up ads on the dedicated page rather than ads and query content. Additional information will post in a blog Wednesday.
Yahoo has been testing the system for a couple of months with between 2% and 4% of overall traffic on search.yahoo.com in a test environment.
As Yahoo turns the backend search functions to Microsoft, which will power the advertising and algorithm platform through Bing, Yahoo remains in control of the consumer experience, according to the agreement.
Pann says today when someone types in the word "flower," Yahoo executes the search to serve up and match the ads. After the transition, Microsoft will execute the search against adCenter, but how they appear on the page remains with Yahoo.
Yahoo reported a 14% decline in search ad revenue compared with the prior year, but higher profits and 20% increase in display ad revenue, year-on-year. The company earned $310 million -- or 22 cents per share -- for the first three months of 2010, compared with $118 million or 8 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.