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Yahoo Search Marketing Pay Per Click Advertising Forum

Yahoo Changing PPC Ad Layout
Big News

 12:16 am on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yahoo just announced a new layout for ads in their SERPs. Short Google-esque descriptions (automatically shortened, so be sure to get your rewritten ads submitted now!). 70 Characters instead of 190.

Even though we all knew this was coming sooner or later, I for one am a little frustrated, as I just launched a campaign with 175,000 keywords and literally 1000s of descriptions. This is going to be very time consuming. At least it is after Xmas.

Not sure how to take the fact that partner search sites will be displaying longer descriptions--- that's a monkey wrench for sure.

(re-written to conform to TOS)

On January 18th, Yahoo! will be changing the way that ads will be displayed, that should increase clicks, while maintaining CTR.

How it will change your listings:
* Shorter descriptions for Sponsored Search listings
* Long descriptions will be automatically shortened for you when they display on Yahoo!
* To prepare for this you may want to put your important info within the first 70 characters of the descriptions
* We will test the proper length over time and may add or subtract characters to get the best performance
* Most partners will stay with the old length, however it will vary by site

[edited by: werty at 5:42 pm (utc) on Dec. 16, 2005]
[edit reason] Removed Email Quote - Please see TOS #9 [/edit]


Tropical Island

 12:33 am on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is just another in the never ending mismanagement goofs that Overture is famous for.

How can they allow 2 different systems with one ad.

Either change it completely or allow 2 ads - one for Yahoo & one for the rest of the world.

Just beyond belief!


 12:40 am on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are correct Arinick, thanks for posting the news.

We believe that this change will improve the search experience for its users- and therefore will lead to more clicks for you (as the note points out).

As usual, if you have any comments feel free to post here. We are listening and welcome your feedback. You could also send me a private note.



 3:56 am on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi YahooSarah, thanks for responding-

I think this is likely to be a positive move in the long run, but the transition has signs of being a bit rocky.

Can you tell me, what is going to happen when so many advertisers attempt to revise their ad descriptions in such a short period of time (~1 month)? Isn't the editorial process going to become terribly backlogged? Or, do you believe more advertisers will opt for the automated truncation of ad copy? Right now, that's my biggest concern.



 6:20 am on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi YahooSarah....Could you please explain exactly how this will improve user experience and you figure that will equate into more clicks for the advertisers? What will the ad layout look like on Yahoo, for example? How does a shorter description lead to better user experience and thus more clicks for the advertiser? I'm all for more clicks while maintaining conversions and ROI, but I'm at a loss as to how you figure this will happen? Thanks in advance for your responses.



 2:24 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Will titles be trimmed as well?


 3:30 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Will these changes also apply to the other Yahoo properties (ie Yahoo UK and Yahoo Australia)?

This raises a number of questions.


 3:46 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't see how shorter ads = better user experience and CTR. Also, weren't they already truncating ads in the sidebar?

IMHO- Make the ads 1 size. Multiple sizes makes too much work for large campaigns and makes things even more difficult to manage. I think we all have made decisions with clients to spend money on adwords in certain cases just because it's easier and faster.


 5:32 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good question-- Yahoo does keep saying that this change will improve CTRs.

You are right, CubFan, the right-side ads are currently truncated to approximately 70 characters. So, perhaps Yahoo is saying that instead by writing ads specifically for this description length, they will be of better quality and thereby get better CTRs. But, how does the automated truncation of ad copy figure to help this effort? It seems more than likely that this will hurt rather than help---

Again, I really have to wonder what happens when so many advertisers submit revised ad copy for editorial approval all within a 3-4 week period.


 6:47 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yahoo does keep saying that this change will improve CTRs.

I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Anyone remotely interested might click to see what the rest of the ad is about, or what's actually being presented.

Higher CTR, but lower conversion ratio.

We believe that this change will improve the search experience for its users

What about the advertising experience for the advertisers?

* We will test the proper length over time and may add or subtract characters to get the best performance

Performance for who? I don't think advertisers want to spend time chasing multiple character count changes. And does the overture staff really want to spend time reviewing all of these changes?


 6:54 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is great news - especially when it carries over to YPN. Many people have complained about the ending ... I do believe this lowers CTR, mainly because of its uglyness and half sentence type wordings. Many try to stuff as many keywords in as possible, relivant or not. This should allow for a better circulation of ads as well...


 7:48 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is great for all for publishers and advertisers.


 8:05 pm on Dec 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

So, perhaps Yahoo is saying that instead by writing ads specifically for this description length, they will be of better quality and thereby get better CTRs.

No doubt about this Arinick. Not only that, but from an SEM production perspective, it will make it easier for me to create the Yahoo ads based on my adwords spreadsheet. String together my 1st and 2nd description lines (35 + 35 = 70). Voila.

My advice to Yahoo. Change it once. Keep it that way. We'll figure out how to get the best CTR/Performance.


 1:46 am on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)


Thanks for posting your thoughts to this change and Iím happy to see that some of you are already in favor it. I discussed your questions/concerns with our team and here is what I can tell you:

- We understand your concern and have taken steps to avoid a potential backlog of advertiser listings. We've let advertisers know that no listing changes are necessary and that we will be automatically adjusting descriptions for them. In fact, our research has shown that this is working well, with a positive impact on clicks while still maintaining conversion rates for most advertisers.

- That said, some advertisers may have key information at the end of their message and may wish to bring this information up front. We notified advertisers of our plans this week in order to provide those who want to edit their information 6 full weeks to do so. We have also staffed up our editorial teams to ensure that changes are reviewed in a timely manner.

- Titles will not be shortened with this current change.

- This change will only take place in the US market for now, but we are testing in other markets.

- In response to how this will improve the user experience, we believe that presenting a more streamlined look to the search results page will make it easier for search users to review the information and find what they're looking for. Staying focused on satisfying the needs of search users ultimately helps advertisers too - if we present relevant, easy to use search results, search users will value our information and advertising even more.

Again, we welcome your feedback. I hope this helps ease your concerns. Thanks



 3:21 pm on Dec 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

It will also let Yahoo fit five or six ads in at the top, instead of the four they now have.


 5:05 pm on Dec 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Their ads look too much like serps. They should make ads look like ads, and organic listings look like organic listings. I think they are fooling too many surfers, and I'm sure the FCC doesn't like it either.

I see both Google and Yahoo trying to squeeze every last bit of blood out of their ads/serps, which means they are getting desperate and running out of ideas to improve revenues. Google increasing their title font size on ads reveals they are trolling the bottom of the Idea Barrel to increase their main revenue source.

I don't know, but I see a few cracks in the revenue armour for both SE's. It's just a feeling I have that something is just not right...just a feeling though.


 7:45 pm on Dec 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

This will benefit Yahoo only, more clicks and less conversation for us. Great move!


 3:13 am on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think this is a good move. I started doing this on my own recently knowing readers only give you a second to make your pitch. Good copy writing will be vital.


 10:52 am on Dec 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

This will improve CTR for a short while as it will look different on the page and so be clicked on by surfers who are currently blind to ads.

Maybe its more about mobiles?



 11:08 pm on Dec 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

IMO it's not about mobiles, it's about the right hand column on yahoo

look at how the ads are displayed on the right hand side - long descriptions are truncated and incomplete - advertisers messages aren't getting across, which means less clicks

if you get your message across within 70 characters, you'll get the clicks - but not everyone does that

if the character limit is set to 70, everyone has to get the message across in 70 characters = more clicks

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