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Old 01-18-2007   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
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My First 6 Yahoo Panama “Enhancement” Requests

My First 6 Yahoo Panama “Enhancement” Requests
Panama, Yahoo’s new search marketing platform is ambitious, sleek, and sort of disappointing to me all at once. In previous blog writings (Panama Geo-Targeting Pain) I’ve documented my experiences with Yahoo converting clients from Overture Legacy to Panama. Geo-Targeting is not the only Panama feature which could use some improvement in my opinion. Here’s my personal top 6 feature “enhancement” requests for version 1.2.

Custom URL Management
We live in a paid search universe where landing page relevancy counts more and more towards PPC cost and placement. It would be helpful if Panama was convenient and flexible in how we use custom URLs to route individual keywords to the most relevant landing page possible.

Instead, it’s nearly impossible to deal with more than a few keywords at a time in Panama in assigning custom URL strings. Does Yahoo WANT us to use irrelevant landing pages so we spend more money? If not, they sure provide a lot of incentive to use a single URL for every keyword in an ad group. It is often important to assign a Custom URL to every individual keyword. For instance, consider the following URL example: tomLandingPage.

This URL structure allows me to redirect clicks to content specific landing pages and track the PPC purchases from the incoming URL string. I need a different combination of variables available for every keyword.

Unfortunately Panama places custom URL assignment management deep down at the individual keyword level with no mechanism to edit groups of URLS. You have to drill down to the individual keyword level for every keyword’s custom URL one at a time. Google on the other hand, at the keyword level, allows you to select as many keywords as you want with check boxes to create/edit custom URL’s for batches of keywords-complete with a javascript copy-down feature.

Custom URL management in Panama either needs to be closer to the surface or somehow easier to manage for large campaigns. Lots of us PPC managers have campaigns with hundreds or even thousands of words. Drilling down to each keyword one at a time, and back out, and back in to the next keyword makes me gnash my teeth and sweat.

Date Range Selection Needs an “All Time” Feature
Let’s face it; the Google app is awesome when it comes to keeping track of your clients’ money (and spending it too :-) Having access to an “all time” date range preset proves extremely useful in plotting the ROI of PPC in Google. Panama gives you preset date ranges to choose from but excludes the “all time” option.

Key Features Unavailable When Setting Up Campaigns
A frustrating problem is lack of keyword list cleaning features on account-setup. If you add the keywords “binocular” and “binoculars” once the campaign is already set up Panama will automatically clean out the either the plural or singular and inform you of the redundancy.

However, if (when you first set up a campaign) you enter singular and plural or certain inversions (Hollywood Hotel/Hotel Hollywood) an error message is generated instructing you to delete permutations from the form field by hand. This may not sound like a big deal but keep in mind that other search engines don’t’ assume keyword permutations like Yahoo. In Google “Divorce Mediator Minnesota” is a different query that “Divorce Mediators Minnesota.”

Therefore I often deal with keyword research lists which need special cleaning for Panama. Overture was the same way and was good about removing permutations perceived as duplicates. As I deal with hundreds of keywords, picking through the Panama error messages and cleaning the list by hand on initial set-up sucks. The work-around is to set up campaigns with a single keyword and add the rest afterwards to take advantage of Panama’s automatic keyword cleaning which becomes available the first time you add new keywords after the campaign is initially configured.

Default Settings Are Expensive“Panama defaults keywords to “Advanced Match.” Advanced match automatically does keyword research for you on the fly and assigns searches which, in Panama’s estimation, are reasonably associated with your specified keywords. Sometimes this is desirable but I like to know the keywords I am buying to avoid expensive mistakes. To the professional this can cause wasted time and consternation figuring out where dollars are being spent. To the less savvy advertiser “advanced match” without a full understanding of what it means can turn into an incredible waste of money.

Panama defaults Content Match to on. Content match, in the hands of the uninformed can be an expensive mistake. I don’t understand Yahoo’s thinking. I’m sure a certain percentage of newbie advertisers will blow a lot of short-term cash on ill-advised content match, get discouraged, and abandon the PPC channel. Content match, while useful when wielded properly, is also the source of arbitrage scourge for those who leach PPC commissions with no-value content match only sites.

The Standard Match/Advanced Match and Content Match Hierarchal Layers are Confusing
There are options for standard verses advanced match on 4 different levels; administrative, campaign, ad group, and individual keyword. Content match on/off is enabled on 3 different levels. higher level trumps the level below (Best I can figure).

I called Yahoo Customer Support to clarify this today and the person I talked to informed me that the opposite was true…until I read him Panama’s error message when trying to set a keyword to advanced match while standard was selected at the administrative level. It’s so confusing that street level Yahoo tech support could not explain it. There must be a better way.

Client Center
There is none. I have a number of clients with Panama accounts. Some clients own multiple web businesses. I have a list of usernames and passwords 2 pages long. Log in...sign out...login...check the password list. Yahoo tech support explained to me that "after the conversion is complete" we'll be able to ask for "custom aggregation" of our clients' accounts. Google seems years ahead with their killer-app PPC client center, complete with layers of approval and oversight.

Last edited by Marcia : 02-08-2007 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 01-19-2007   #2
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Great post. I agree with everything you've said. There are definitely major issues with the interface, esp for those of us managing large and/or complex campaigns.

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Old 01-19-2007   #3
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Here are 2 more:

* Custom reporting. Yahoo, you changed the format and data included in your URL Activity report, which I upload into a database to calculate ROI and other things. Key fields are now missing, rendering the report useless. And I can't create a custom report to give me the info I need. We're faced with re-designing our database instead - no easy undertaking.

* Search by URL is gone. I used this all the time in the old DTC. Now I have to hunt around in the often-strange Yahoo-induced Ad Groups to find certain ads or keywords. Takes longer.

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Old 01-25-2007   #4
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Boston
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Here is what I would like to see...

1) This bid management issue is the main issue right now for me...

2) The editorial process... I wish it was much more like Google's where I don't have to wait days for keywords and ads to be reviewed. I am not advertising in any sort of sensitive category and still all ads and terms need to be manually reviewed. Just have them go live then take them offline if they don't meet editorial guidelines.

3) Conversion data for ads! It took Google very long to provide this, but has helped me optimize our account much more efficiently.

4) The ability to move keywords from one ad group to another. Right now, the only way I can figure to do this is to delete in one ad group, manually submit to another and copy bid info, custom urls, etc. However, due to the editorial process, you will be offline with these terms from the time you delete to the time the keyword(s) are reviewed.

5) Keyword tool with monthly searches... so we can easily add keywords and negative keywords.

6) Working in 2 seperate screens leads to errors. Say I am in one ad group then in another tab I am working in another ad group (I have done this trying to copy ad copy from one group to another). If I navigate in one ad group then try to do something in the other, it will cause an error and changes will not be saved. I'm not technically knowlegable of how web pages work, but I think it has something to do with javascript or the ".do" that is on every page of the Panama interface once you are logged in. MSN AdCenter is even worse in this regard with the errors because of their ".aspx" pages.

7) More customizeable reporting settings (as Mel mentioned).

These are some things they could do now. I'd also like to see site exclusion, the ability to opt out of partner network for certain campaigns, click fraud tools, etc. as well.
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