Tuesday, 26 August 2008

What do Yahoo! Think You're Doing? (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my rant about Yahoo! search marketing and the difficulties I am experiencing as an advertiser trying to advertise on Yahoo! as effectively as on other search engines.

This installment focuses on an issue that will be particularly concerning to advertisers that have previously experienced problems with match types on other engines.

As I write this blog post, this issue continues to flummox the account management team at Yahoo! UK. The issue has been forwarded to their technical counterparts but a solution has been outstanding for months now.

2. Yahoo! Mapping

Unlike Google, Yahoo! do not have as many keyphrase targeting options. Standard match is the option that is the most similar to Google's exact match but all keyphrases are set to advanced match by default. Historically, the advanced match option in Yahoo! has been a bit too vague for advertisers likings. Keyphrases have matched to incorrect terms causing Yahoo! search campaigns to be less efficient than other engines.

Although Yahoo! claim that the functionality updates delivered with Panama allowed them to tighten up their advanced match facility, it is still advisable to initially implement campaigns with keywords set to standard match.

But even this option creates problems for large advertisers that have the intention to run highly targeted campaigns.
It appears that terms on standard match automatically map to other terms within the account. This is a similar problem to Google's problematic expanded broad match.

For example, we are currently trying to bid on the phrase "Majorca Holidays". According to Yahoo, we are unable to add this term to our campaign because it is mapping to another term within our account. This term is "Holidays in Majorca". In order to increase the position on the term "Majorca Holidays" it is necessary to increase our bid on the term "Holidays in Majorca".

In my view this is ludicrous. If is deemed that the two keywords are so similar that an advertiser may only bid on one of the terms, then the results displayed on a search for "Majorca Holidays" and "Holidays in Majorca" should be identical.
Furthermore, all advanced match terms should match to both terms.

The auction on the two different keyphrases should be independent from each other in all eventualities. Why is it not?

The real question however
is why does this mapping occur? All the terms in our account are on standard match, not advanced match so why does Yahoo! choose to match one term against another without the advertisers' explicit permission?

The highest sales volume for my organisation comes from sales of Majorca Holidays. I wish to pay to advertise against the term "Majorca Holidays" It appears that Yahoo! search marketing cannot facilitate this.

Now if this keyphrase creates 100 clicks per day, at an average £0.50 per click, then Yahoo! are potentially throwing away £18,250 per year that I would prepared to invest with them on a single keyphrase. If 100 keyphrases are experiencing the same problem then this figure increases to £1,825,000 p.a. of advertising revenue from one account alone. Considering the nature of the recent and very public merger talks, I am not sure that Yahoo! shareholders would be as comfortable with these figures as their account management staff appear to be.

Part 3 will focus on minimum bid increases

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