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Is your Yahoo ROI tanking?

     
1:16 am on Dec 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It seems like no matter what we do to "optimize" our Yahoo Search Marketing account, no matter how much $ we spend, our Yahoo numbers don't respond.

We reorganized both Google and Yahoo accounts from a messy home-grown affair to a meticulously structured hierarchy - Google returns shot up, Yahoo leads dropped.

We increased our Yahoo bids to position 1 for our target keywords, DOUBLING our spend - our CTR went up .01% while our conversion rate dipped.

Is anyone else out there seeing declining performance in Yahoo? Is Yahoo just broken?

2:50 am on Dec 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Look at where the traffic coming from... you will find very little Yahoo there
5:58 am on Dec 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My experience with Yahoo over the last year or so has been about the same. However I recently managed to find a way to optimize for a higher CTR that has had surprisingly good results.

I went through each ad group and looked for keywords that had an abnormally high number of impressions and only a few clicks. By abnormally high I mean something like 1300 impressions and 2 clicks in a day. If these keywords had no conversions over the last few months, or had a real lousy ROI, I either deleted them or turned them off. If removing the keyword wasn’t an option then I would compromise by setting the match type to Standard. Keywords that had a low number of impressions (like 20 a day) and no clicks were just left alone.

Then I added at least one new text ad to each group using a new landing page url if possible. I paused any existing ads that had a low Quality Index.

The result of removing a few 'trouble' keywords from each ad group and adding some fresh ad text was a much higher CTR and a far better Quality Index on ads, which of course led to a notable increase in conversions.

I think the reality here is that Yahoo is very CTR driven and you really have to treat long tail keywords differently than you would in Google.

9:29 pm on Dec 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Look at where the traffic coming from... you will find very little Yahoo there

Hey powerstar,

What exactly do you mean? Care to elaborate?

1:10 pm on Dec 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think what powerstar wants to say is that traffic is coming from yahoo itself and his search partners (and content if you opted-in). The problem is that traffic coming from a few "search parters" is sometimes skyrocketing, so you will find that the share of yahoo traffic in total traffic is much smaller than you think.
5:44 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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our Yahoo ROI has skyrocketed over the past few days. We are holiday based, but while google has increased by 15% yahoo has tripled.

Very strange actually...

6:53 am on Dec 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What exactly do you mean? Care to elaborate?

Yahoo also sends you traffic from "search partners". While some of these are quality like AltaVista, some are complete garbage and home for rampant click fraud. In some competitive areas, you'll find that you will receive nearly 90% of your traffic from sites other than Yahoo!. They added a tool to block domains but it doesn't work on all their partners. Yahoo! turns a blind eye to this.
6:09 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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How then, do you recommend I improve or optimize our Yahoo campaign? If you have a step by step recommendation - I would love to hear it.

Thanks!

2:04 pm on Jan 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Forget Yahoo- and its bogus 'partners'... All that matters is google--
Yahoo's system is broken on many levels-- doesn't even allow automatic control of off/on for a campaign.

KEY YAHOO PROBLEM: Impressions for a given keyword are WAY DOWN-- everyone is going
to Google

11:07 pm on Feb 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes, we are seeing our ROI tank. Our cost on Yahoo is roughly double Google. Not good, not good at all.
6:33 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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ROI has been getting worse...so bad that I have pulled my campaigns. If you do stick with Yahoo try and bid out of the top 5, so that your ads do not appear on so many poor converting partner sites.
7:03 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Have any of you tried to bock some of Yahoo's partner sites? I think you can block up to 250 them right now.

I recently clocked several. The tricky part is figuring out which to block since Yahoo won't/can't release a list of their partners. Fortunately for me, I'm able to do this by comparing our server logs to sales reports.

7:25 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure if that feature is available in the UK yet...and for me it is too late now. The company I have just left have pulled their Yahoo accounts...and the company I am moving to have already done this. I will probably re-examine Yahoo soon but at the moment I don't feel it is worth the effort needed.
10:42 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We use Google Analytics so we don't have anything to analyze and pull out non performing sites. All of the referrals just show up as Yahoo PPC.

We are looking at a log file analyzer to pull out as many partner sites as possible. Hopefully this will help. We've also shutdown some of the campaigns that were performing the worse than others. That said our spend on Yahoo PPC is 2x more for the same ROI as what we are averaging on Google, MSN, Nextag, etc.

3:11 am on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Do you tag your Google campaign URLs and Yahoo campaign URLs (and all others for that matter) separately so you can track sales internally? This is how we do it and I was able to ask my IT dept. to pull all Yahoo referrals (referrals according to the way I tag my destination URLs in Yahoo paid) tagged as Yahoo that were not Yahoo. Yahoo's partners will not modify any tracking codes you append to the end your URLs. This way I could see who Yahoo's partners were and was actually able to link these to sales and remove those with lots of clicks, but no sales.

Simply analyzing referral logs in general may not help in this situation unless you are sure the site is a partner of Yahoo.

3:48 pm on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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MadeWillis,

Yes we tag URL's. Which log file analyzer do you use? We are looking at Clicktracks Pro.

Matt

5:05 pm on Feb 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I use Nettracker, but our reporting suite was built in-house and I also have the luxury of a great IT dept who can grab custom data for me if I need, so I rarely use Nettracker. We used to have Clicktracks, but it has been some time since we canceled our subscription.
 

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