Sweet! Adcenter Lets Advertisers Segment Search Traffic

24 Comments Written on September 28th, 2010 by
Categories: Microsoft Adcenter, PPC Tools, Yahoo

One of the big advancements that made Yahoo advertising profitable again for a lot of advertisers was a new setting that allowed you to exclude the Yahoo search partner traffic and run your ads exclusively on Yahoo’s core search engine.

With the transition to Adcenter, advertisers lost that control, and I personally wondered when/if Microsoft would roll out similar controls.

Looks like Microsoft’s implementation of this went live today (or very recently at least)…

Hat tip to Matt Umbro for spotting this early and tweeting it out!

Bing Core Search Traffic Selection

Sweet Release

Now advertisers can choose option number 2 under the search network to focus on Bing and Yahoo’s core search traffic exclusively, which in my experience yields much higher conversions at a considerably lower long-term cost.

You can see this new option (provided it’s completely rolled out) by clicking “Create Campaign” and scrolling to the bottom under “Adgroup Settings”.

Update: Switch Your Existing Campaigns to Core Search Only

By default you’ll see that Adcenter has opted you into “All Bing and Yahoo! search networks and syndicated search partners” for your existing Adcenter campaigns.

To change this setting in the Adcenter online UI:

  1. Drill into your campaign and check the box next to “Adgroup” to select all of the adgroups in that particular campaign.
  2. Then click the “More” button and select “Bulk Edit”
  3. From the drop down selector box in the blue area choose “Distribution to Networks” and you can bulk edit your adgroup’s search configuration.

Change Adcenter Campaign to Core Search Only


MicroHoo Adcenter About to Drop Big Changes for Affiliates

1 Comment » Written on July 16th, 2010 by
Categories: Landing Pages, Marketing, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo

If 2009 was the year of Google’s Great Affiliate Massacre, Q3 2010 is about to go down MicroHoo’s kick at the can.

Microsoft Adcenter sent a nice little reminder email out yesterday suggesting that the transition to Adcenter for Yahoo search ads is progressing quite quickly, and you may want to pay attention to impending changes if you’re an Adcenter advertiser.

Then they slipped in this little nugget:

Updates in editorial guidelines
Microsoft and Yahoo! have created joint editorial guidelines that will begin taking effect for search advertisers in early August. The guidelines can make your ads more effective, while helping to create a safer search marketplace. We encourage you to review these now, so that you understand any potential impact to your ads or keywords.

Yahoo’s Trademark Policies Have Won Out

Here’s some of the parts that deserve special attention:

You may not bid on as a keyword, or use in the content of your ads:

  • Any term whose use would infringe the trademark of any third party or otherwise be unlawful or in violation of the rights of any third party.
  • Use of a third-party trademark may be allowed if its use is truthful and lawful, for example, if:

    • Your website provides information—product reviews, for example—about goods or services that are represented by the trademark, and your principal offering is not any product or service that competes with the goods or services represented by the trademark.

    So basically, MicroHoo doesn’t have the resources that Google has to handle trademark bidding or with the same level of sophistication, so they’re going to adopt the old-school approach used by Yahoo for years.

    Given that the transition for ads has been scheduled for early August, it’s reasonable to expect the automated trademark sweeps and manual review flagging to start in Adcenter accounts soon, with the new guidelines generating mass disapprovals for advertisers that bid on trademarks the most: affiliates.

    The Other Side of the Coin

    No doubt, Microsoft’s goal here is to make their ad network a comfortable place for large brands to dump their spend, and the “we don’t allow your competitors to bid on your trademark” bullet point in the pitch deck is going to be helpful to this end.

    If you’re a paid search manager constantly fighting with PPC engines to prevent your competitors from appearing when users search for you, then this is a big win, and it seems Microsoft has your back.

    The Rest of the “Relevance Guidelines”

    It turns out Microsoft is also taking a page from Google in some ways as well by creating new terms in their Relevance Guidelines that give them a fair amount of latitude in deciding whether or not they think a particular ad or landing page is “relevant”.

    Wiggle room here makes it easier on their reviewers to apply their judgement, however only time will tell how they get applied.  But the smart money is having a look at these new guidelines yourself now and seeing what may or may not apply to your account.

    Yahoo! Publisher Network Dies

    2 Comments Written on March 31st, 2010 by
    Categories: Contextual Advertising, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo

    Just got this via email:

    Yahoo! continuously evaluates and prioritizes our products and services, in alignment with business goals and our continued commitment to deliver the best consumer and advertiser experiences. After conducting an extensive review of the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program, we have decided to close the program effective April 30, 2010. We expect to deliver final publisher payments for the month ending April 30, 2010 to publishers no later than May 31, 2010. All publishers eligible for 1099s for the 2010 tax year will have those mailed by January 31, 2011.

    Because our content will no longer be delivered to your ad unit spaces after April 30, 2010, we recommend removing all YPN ad code from your pages by that date.

    For the opportunity to continue earning revenue, we suggest using Chitika, a leading advertising network that syndicates Yahoo! Content Match and Sponsored Search ads. Chitika has set up a special process for YPNO beta publishers to participate in its platform. Click here for more information.

    Sad to see Yahoo! either bowing out from and/or outsourcing so many of their businesses. Given Yahoo!’s huge reach as a publisher and the idea behind audience matching at the likes of Quantcast, Yahoo! should have been fairly well positioned to run a distributed ad network. But since they sold off search they just keep cutting pieces. I would have thought that running a contextual network would have been additional free volume Yahoo! made while creating optimization algorithms for their own properties.

    Given their pending tie-in with Microsoft, it is a bit surprising to see them recommending Chitika (though the recommendation is a nice win for Chitika). Part of selling the search tie up deal with Microsoft was the idea of economies of scale driving increased yields. And now AdSense (which is already probably at least as dominant in contextual ads as Google is in search) just lost another competitor. For as saturated as online ad networks are, it is surprising that AdSense has such a big lead and that Microsoft didn’t make catching up with PubCenter a higher priority.

    Creating a distributed ad network would give Microsoft 5 big weapons in the search game

    • collecting lots more data about the web
    • more direct relationships with many webmasters
    • forcing Google to cut their margins on the distributed ads (if they want to bleed you dry on Office then reciprocate the favor on their AdSense ads)
    • the ability to have a network to re-target searchers on
    • having a backfill set of inventory to do some home cooking, promoting new releases and the Bing brand for pennies on the Dollar, just like Google did with Nexus One

    One strategic positive for Yahoo! is that they have pushing harder into the original content development, but if they become more profitable with that will some of their content licensing partners start increasing their rates?

    And if there is any sorta sustainable economic rebound (doubtful), then I would give it 2 to 1 odds that Yahoo! buys Chitika in the next 3 years 😀

    Profit With Yahoo Search Marketing Ads

    8 Comments Written on February 9th, 2010 by
    Categories: Yahoo

    Yahoo! Search Marketing has long failed to innovate at the pace of Google AdWords – with a less sophisticated quality score, more limited negative keyword filtering, and making it quite hard to block many forms of rampant ad syndication & click fraud. Sometimes if you tracked the scam clicks it was possible to get a refund, but even so you couldn’t get a refund for your time. And for that reason (plus falling search marketshare) many PPC advertisers have simply ignored Yahoo! Search Marketing.

    Panama was the much hyped platform that never delivered, and in October of last year Yahoo! announced that they were going to launch a Search Marketing Desktop editor, but of all the tips, tools, and tutorials one can offer for how to succeed in Yahoo! Search Marketing, the #1 strategy today is to simply block the network syndication offering mystery meat distribution. Up until this past month it was literally impossible to do!!! But now you can, and so Yahoo! might be worth another look if you have written them off in the past.

    At the end of January, Jonathan Beeston highlighted how in Efficient Frontier‘s latest search marketing data Yahoo!’s syndication network was over 50% of their distribution, and how those clicks were only worth roughly 40% of the value of Yahoo! search clicks. Simply by filtering out the Yahoo! distribution network you are able to filter out most of the fraud and just buy the clean search traffic.

    How do you filter Yahoo! network traffic?

    Click into a campaign

    Click to edit the campaign settings

    In the right rail click on the network distribution settings, adjust them to Yahoo! Search only, and save the campaign

    When you are done you should see the following

    Expected Results?

    Results will vary by market, but in a Webmaster World thread on this topic one advertiser mentioned that filtering out the partner network increased their quality score and doubled their ad distribution overnight.

    If you were getting some value from the Yahoo! Partners it is worth setting up a separate ad group to target it so you can use lower bids on the partner network and quarantine the often shifty and opportunistic partner network budget from your core Yahoo! Search Marketing ad budget.

    Have a Yahoo! Search Marketing Coupon?

    Yes there are many Yahoo! Search Marketing coupons to be had. Here is one, which is distributed through CJ: Yahoo! Sponsored Search connects businesses and customers online. Sign up and get a $25 credit.

    If you hunt around the web you might be able to find other coupons as well. And some books on PPC also contain various discount vouchers & promo codes. If you find other discounts please post them in the comments below.

    What if Yahoo! Search Marketing Was Smart?

    3 Comments Written on October 13th, 2009 by
    Categories: Yahoo

    I was reading Twitter today and saw Yahoo! Ads Buzz share a link to a Search Engine Watch blog post highlighting trends in paid search. Both Bing and Google keep growing year on year, whereas Yahoo! Search Marketing has just been decimated.

    The shocking thing is that Yahoo! would even want to share a link that showed how badly they are losing marketshare in the paid search market. Or that they would be able to see the stats and not understand what is causing the issue, in spite of people spelling it out publicly and thousands of advertisers complaining about it.

    As my buddy Sean Turner described via chat…

    To break it down, yahoo gives you a feed for & you give me a feed for But all links that are clicked on redirect through so that it shows up in customer logs as If you block, it will block ads from, but not The blocked domain tool works on what domains display, not on where the feed is redirected through. So if you are a customer, there is no way to know that is sending traffic (since it’s redirecting through and no way to block it through since that tool only works on the domain that is actually displaying it.

    I found it because we kept getting traffic from We had blocked it over and over and couldn’t figure out why they kept sending us traffic. We couldn’t find our ad on their site. I went to and ran a search and found that it indexed some of those landing pages that use as a monetization service.

    Yahoo!’s lone bright spot in the search market is their BOSS service. And now they are letting BOSS syndication partners monetize with Yahoo! ads, but they are being stupid about it – forcing you to go through a 3rd party partner so they have no way to clean the good from the bad.

    Economic incentives are pretty easy to understand. Let people mix in junk with good stuff and they will keep watering it down.

    There is an endless supply of fraud willing to take free money.

    You only need to look at this 1 chart to see how bundling syndication and scams with search causes fraudulent activity. Advertisers are not stupid (especially during recessions). Which is why they have opted to shift ad dollars away from Yahoo! toward the other search engines.

    Update: It looks like as part of a class action lawsuit Yahoo! is required to create an ad distribution channel that allows option out of many of the syndication types:

    “Premium Providers” means: (a) all web sites and web pages (including any microsite), software applications and other properties on the Internet that are owned or operated by Yahoo!; and, at Yahoo!’s option, (b) all parts of the Distribution Network other than: (i) domain name parking sites; (ii) bulk registration sites; (iii) “pop-up” or “pop-under” windows; (iv) typosquatting sites; (v) “sliders”; (vi) “sidebars”; (vii) “injected ads”; or (viii) unsolicited spam email.

    And in spite of that they still are running BOSS syndication through a 3rd party partner.

    How to Find the Best Traffic for Your First PPC Campaign – Part 1

    11 Comments Written on July 23rd, 2008 by
    Categories: Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo

    The web has a wealth of information (and misinformation) which makes it tough to filter out the noise. PPC is also tricky because most of the time, there are no definitive answers and everything varies. The results of campaigns are hardly the same even if a landing page is stolen and re-used. Note: There are ways to reduce web copy theft which I’ll cover next week.

    If you’re new to PPC and want to start out properly, you may get overwhelmed with the amount of research and execution involved. After finding your niche, keywords, keyword organization and landing page, the next objective is to determine the main sources for traffic.

    Yahoo Search – Good Overall Starting Point

    I see this tip shared quite a bit online. A lot of folks start with Yahoo because of its traffic converting slightly better than Google. In most circumstances, Yahoo’s CPC is lower than Adwords which is an incentive to new advertisers. The downside with Yahoo is their lower quality, spammy search partners. These are mainly domainer pages or junk, spyware infested sites. They finally allowed advertisers to exclude search partners but only upto 250 sites. I have an Adwords campaign where I have over 1000 sites excluded so 250 is a bit stingy.

    So if you want to collect data for a test campaign, Yahoo is good if you limit to search and exclude spending money on their search partner program. Here’s $25 of free credit to help you get started.

    Microsoft AdCenter – Less Risky, More Free Money

    Vista is a vicious program that caused me tremendous grief and pain but other than that, I give Microsoft AdCenter a high approval just like XP. It is excellent for the new, super cautious advertiser on a limited budget. The two downsides are lack of market share which means fewer data and a weak content network. But if it’s your first campaign, the content network will provide little value anyway because you have very little control over it.

    Microsoft is working really hard to attract advertisers and have released some of the best free tools available. My favorite is the Ad-Intelligence Office Excel plug-in and it’s compatible for both 2003 and 2007 version. The free keyword tool is the best of its kind because you access real live data, not cached like all the major tools. Aside from the cool tools, they’re also giving you a generous $75 worth of adcenter ads to get you started. Aaron and I tested Ad Intelligence back in January of this year – here’s our review.

    Google Adwords – Cutting to the Chase for Immediate Results

    Lots of mixed opinions from seasoned advertisers if Adwords is the best traffic source for initial testing. Advertisers in favor of Adwords as the entry point knows that Google delivers some of the highest traffic quality online. Google’s king-size ownership of the market allows advertisers to test campaign performance, keyword efficiency and landing pages with fast, accurate data to influence any changes. You’ll know in a shorter period how your offer will fare.

    The other team knows Adwords as the most competitive channel on the market. A lot of new advertisers are easily discouraged if they’re not prepared for the fierce competition ahead.  Expect incuring higher costs, complete lots of quality score requirements and face that risk of getting slapped around.

    Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer and agree with the logic of both sides.

    Summary to Help Alleviate Confusion

    Everything varies with PPC so choosing which platform to advertise in will depend on your product/service offer, competition, market size and campaign structure. Now that you’re familiar with the ups and downs of the major engines, here’s a quick summary of my baselines:

    1. If you’re in a competitive market such as insurance, mortgage, male reproductive organ enhancements, payday loans and etc, Yahoo or Microsoft could be a smarter choice because you’ll get the data you need at a fraction of Adword’s budget requirement.
    2. If your product is really niched with little traffic and competition,  Adsense can be prioritized. This will help you extract data faster, from a very rich source without exhausting your budget.

    Who Chopped Off PPC’s Long Tail?

    1 Comment » Written on June 24th, 2008 by
    Categories: Google Adwords, Yahoo

    Mona Eisley highlighted that the Yahoo! / Google ad deal intends to focus on the monetization of longtail keywords. There are a few major flaws with this deal from the onset though

    • Google is more selective with distributing ads than other search engines are, and tends to not show advertisements on many hard to monetize longtail queries.
    • When Google does show ads on longtail queries they generally are showing ads for head keywords via their broad match and automatic matching options. Many of the lower end aribtrage plays have been killed off through search ad quality scores.

    Google AdWords Ad Selectivity

    This SearchEngineLand chart compiled from comScore research shows that Google shows fewer ads than most of its competitors do. So part of Google’s solution for the long tail is to ignore monetizing it to offer a better user experience and win marketshare.

    Google Ad Recycling

    Andrew Goodman left a great comment on the above linked post

    Google is definitely heavily testing this recycling of ads concept and the new automatic matching. When you think about it, though, filling up the ad space to a user for a tail term with an ad they saw previously is a pretty brilliant tactic on Google’s part, as long as users don’t revolt. Instead of lowball affil & arb ads or white space, a high quality advertiser from a previous search gets re-shown, and another chance to make an impression.

    With the way Google AdWords is heading it seems the key to dominating the tail of PPC is to dominate the head – improve your conversion rates and value per visitor so you can bid more aggressivley and use broader matching options to get the additional longtail exposure.

    On organic search publishers still have many options on the longtail front (publishing niche content, guest articles on authority sites, exact match domain names, etc.), but some of those are disappearing through the promotion of mega-authority broad sites like Wikipedia,, and even newcomers like Mahalo.

    How Yahoo! Could Fix Their Search Monetization Problems

    If Yahoo! would just allow searchers to opt out of arbitrage traffic and syndication fraud their click prices would come up and they could serve their own head keywords across the long tail. But if they let Google serve too much of their inventory before they fix the syndication problems they will never have a chance to fix it in house.