|One Newbie's Experience with YSM|
| 12:31 am on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I have only been doing PPC for about five weeks on Google and YSM/Overture. I paid both companies for the initial setup and those fees were applied against clicks. While I wanted some hand holding to start, both Google and YSM campaigns required significant tweaking before I would flip the switch. But, the Google setup and subsequent account management was pretty smooth. YSM setup and management has been pretty challenging.
I work for a small, private college and my charge was to advertise four of our degree programs; three are medical-related programs (two of which are very hot fields right now) and the fourth is international business. A comprehensive landing page was created for each program, additional keywords were selected (about 40 for each program) and I wrote better ad copy for each. Note, this was my starting point. I haven't yet been able to consider multiple, keyword-based landing pages or keyword specific ad copy. I wanted to start with the basics and see how it went first.
Trying to refine the Yahoo campaign both before and subsequent to its being activated has been painful. I've encountered the following:
- Ad titles were changed during the editorial review process. They were mostly changed to exactly match the keywords, even when the keywords were sometimes already in the body copy. So, now the title - the thing I'm trying to sell - is lost, even though the keywords were still fully related.
- Ad copy was changed during the editorial review process. This meant an essential part of my message would not be shown in the first 70 characters.
- Denials are inconsistent. I was previously approved for items that were later denied.
- Keywords that were turned off would be turned on whenever a change was approved, even when the ad did not contain the changes *I* requested.
The biggest frustration with this is that ads were running for keywords that I thought were off because a change had been approved. I figured if I turned off a keyword and then requested a change, that I'd have an opportunity to review that keyword again with the approved change and that I would then active it. Instead, I was paying for ads I hadn't written. If the editorial process were consistent and/or I was not producing appropriate titles and ad copy, then my listings should have simply been denied, not modified. Again, I turned off all the problem keywords until I could get them corrected.
I went over these issues clearly with my account manager. He apologized and suggested I try the bulk upload process to correct all my listings. He used the words "backdoor process" - no kidding. So I completed the spreadsheet and sent it back to him. The day my listings were resubmitted, ALL the keywords in my account were turned on again. However, there was a delay between the time my existing (incorrect) ads were turned back on and the time my newly approved ads were served.
So much of a delay that there was a huge spike in Content Match impressions in that time which resulted in enough clicks on these bad ads (to wrong URLs) to blow out my daily budget. So, not only did this worthless traffic cost 9 days worth of my budget, it effectively inactivated my account. I just realized yesterday, no ads have been served on my account since the 2nd!
Needless to say, Content Match is now OFF. As a newb, I hadn't realized it could be so volatile. My account manager has issued a credit and reactivated the account. Despite my excited and strong complaints, he remained calm and helpful. I don't think any of this is stuff he hasn't heard before.
The YSM system is klugy. The delays between submitting changes and getting a response are ridiculous. As I found out, scary things happen in the time it takes to serve newly changed listings. I don't want to have to babysit this account on a day-to-day basis. I want to have it setup and running steadily in a way that will maximize the limited budget I have. That doesn't mean I won't look at it every week and make refinements gradually, I just don't have the time to do it every day.
This is a small account meant to be a test of PPC for my school. Results thus far have been okay. Click-wise, YSM has been running at about 80% of what Google produces, but YSM has 3 times the number of impressions (Content Match on in both accounts). YSM has produced about 35% of the conversions (leads). As predicted, the two hot programs are doing very well. The other two haven't done much, and the International Business keywords are the most volatile and expensive. (Some as much as $5 for the top spot -- I can't even go there so my average position is pretty low.)
Any suggestions or tricks on how to manage this process better? Should I forget trying to advertise International Business? Is this YSM account worth my time? Are there any other good secondary alternatives?
Any ideas would be appreciated!
| 5:21 am on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Your message was quite interesting.
The flip side is that the difficulties you encountered (in general) could have the effect of keeping less determined competition from attempting to use YSM, which by all accounts can be a viable (and valuable) source of advertising.
I must admit, I find the process of dealing with human editors to be, quite frankly, an obstacle to efficiently doing business more often than not.
| 5:50 am on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)|
have to agree with swirl... because of these issues.. it prevents competition a bit... but in my industry most people were able to take advantage of the problems to make good money from YSM...
it took me about 9 months to learn YSM and I still have issues with them... there's no real science behind YSM just sheer persistence to get it to work for you... :)
| 12:19 am on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Welcome to the forums, arielmt!
Your story is pretty familiar to most of us ... I'm certain your Y ad rep has heard it manymany times before.
Sadly ... the things you mention aren't going to change any time soon.
There doesn't seem to be any 'real' checklist for whether an ad is approved or changed or what ... heck, I can't even tell what the basic reviewer's process is, most of the time. As a simple example, I've added, say, 14 new terms/ads to an existing account and seen, say, 12 of them get reviewed nearly immediately while the rest languish for a couple of days. I gotta wonder: why not review the other 2 while they're doing the first 12? Really? Why not? Quitting time?
Anyway, the editorial process is a pain and irregular and unpredictable, and the reasons given for modification or denial (if given at all) are just as crazy, sometimes.
Just wait until you bulk upload close to the 10,000 terms/ads they say you can send them ... and prepare your server to be inundated with hits from Y's bot.
The bottom line is that IF your income justifies the expenditure and IF you can put up with the wacky editorial process and IF your server can handle Slurp ... you may have an argument for continuing to give Y your money.
Just in case ... try to get in the queue for MSN's upcoming PPC program ... just in case ... 'cause as soon as it comes out of beta, almost all of the benefits of advertising with Y will disappear, just like their current ads on MSN.
| 3:46 am on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|So much of a delay that there was a huge spike in Content Match impressions in that time which resulted in enough clicks on these bad ads (to wrong URLs) to blow out my daily budget. So, not only did this worthless traffic cost 9 days worth of my budget, it effectively inactivated my account. I just realized yesterday, no ads have been served on my account since the 2nd! |
You mentioned you don't want to baby sit the account which I totally understand. But until you become very good at PPC you really need to keep an eye on it several times a day, especially when your learning because one extra keyword change or bid change can burn through your budget in no time.
Overall,your story sounds very normal and you seem to have a handle on things. Just start slow and build up slow until you really understand everything.
| 6:40 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Just in case ... try to get in the queue for MSN's upcoming PPC program ... just in case ... 'cause as soon as it comes out of beta, almost all of the benefits of advertising with Y will disappear, just like their current ads on MSN. |
Thanks for this suggestion. I've signed up and will wait to see if I get an invite. A little reading in the MSN AdCenter forum makes me think I'll be waiting at least a few weeks. (I'm still waiting for the Google invite to Analytics too, even though I signed up months ago.)
Anyway, I hope the YSM process will become smoother for me... Or I might find myself reshuffling more of my budget money to Google or MSN.
Anthing else out there that's worthwhile?
| 7:54 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I use Overture in the UK. I've never had the problems with ads being changed by Overture before going live but I might know how you can avoid the problem.
When I submit new listings I always submit them to a category that's turned off. Once I'm happy I move them to another live category.
Hope this works for you.