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Old 12-15-2005   #1
YahooSarah
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New Look Coming For Yahoo Sponsored Search Listings

All,

Wanted to make sure you heard about a new look coming to the Yahoo! search results pages that will translate into more clicks for your listings. We sent out a note to advertisers today announcing that on January 18th, Yahoo! will debut a streamlined design that will make the search results displayed on Yahoo! even easier for consumers to read. Our research has shown that by improving the search experience in this way, advertisers can generally expect to see an increase in clicks, while maintaining their conversion rates.

How this change impacts your listings:

• Yahoo! will display shorter descriptions for Sponsored Search listings
• You don’t have to make any changes to your listings; they’ll be automatically shortened for you when displayed on Yahoo!
• If you’d like to optimize your listings for Yahoo!, begin your description with one short sentence that includes your keyword and focuses on your most important information in the first 70 characters
• Over time, we will fine tune the exact character count that we believe works best for advertisers and search users
• Most of our partners, including MSN, CNN, ESPN and Infospace, will still display longer descriptions for your Sponsored Search listings, though the exact length may vary from partner to partner

We believe that this change will improve the search experience for its users. As usual, if you have any comments feel free to post here, we welcome your feedback or send me a private note.

YahooSarah
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Old 12-15-2005   #2
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Sarah,

Can you please explain how the ads will be automatically shortened? Are you saying if your ad is currently over the 70 characters, the sentence will cut off on the word just before the 70th character?

Thank you
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Old 12-16-2005   #3
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Great idea, Sarah! Looking forward to the changes. This may move the program out of the large adsense shadow
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Old 12-16-2005   #4
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My thoughts on this are that its a bad move on Yahoo!'s part. Sure, shorter listings might produce more clicks, but the clicks will be less qualified for us advertisers who know how to use the current 190 characters. Less qualified clicks = worse user exprience, even if CTR increases. Also, be on the lookout for bid prices to eventually drop due to a drop in conversion rates.

As far as automatically shorten listings... well, I hope that our competitors take that approach. We have spent the last two years, writing and testing our ads and it looks like we will have to start that process over again.

Last edited by PPC : 12-16-2005 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-16-2005   #5
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So Google adds more ad inventory to their SERPs to look more like Yahoo! SERPs and now Yahoo! shortens their ads to look more like Google SERPs.

If it didn't potentially affect so many businesses bottom line it would almost be funny.
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Old 12-16-2005   #6
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As mentioned in another listing, Yahoo is going to set up their accounts like MSNs and Googles (campaigns, adgroups, ads within each adgroup, etc...). I am sure this is just step one of that process.

No one should be suprised if adding sub-accounts, click thru rates being added as a factor in the positioning, or budgets set on a category level are next
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Old 12-16-2005   #7
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Shilly-
To respond to your question about automatic truncation. As you are aware, we've let advertisers know that no listing changes are necessary and that we will be automatically adjusting descriptions for them (we will truncate them in appropriate ways). Our research has shown that this feature 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.

Thanks for your all your comments.
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Old 12-16-2005   #8
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Will this change have any effect on bid structure?
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Old 12-17-2005   #9
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Less is better, I don't think so.

I guess Yahoo! Search Marketing figures less is more, but it is NOT. Google Adwords already are too short requiring users to click to find out what the advertiser’s web site is about only to discover after the advertiser has paid that it is not what they want. Probably one of the reasons tests on Marketing Experiement.com shows lower ROI for Google than Yahoo!. Why doesn’t Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google Adwords just let advertisers thave more characters so the ads are more informative.

Last edited by searchoptimization : 12-17-2005 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 12-19-2005   #10
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I'm extremely unhappy about this news from Yahoo. They're taking away one of their biggest advantages for the advertiser - more space for ad copy. As others have said, it's very difficult to get your sales message across in 70 characters, and it's been great to have more space to properly describe your product / service and weed out unqualified clicks on Yahoo. Now, they're just copy-catting the others on the block. Why? To fit more ads on the page and make more money? Is this something advertisers have asked for? I can hardly believe that.

Google and MSN currently use the shorter ad format. Google offers A/B testing of ads, plus opt-out on a site level in their content network, awesome customized reporting capabilities, and great customer service. MSN offers decent customized reporting and excellent customer service, plus dayparting and demographic data and targeting. Yahoo, what is your unique selling proposition now? You've taken something away from the table and given us nothing in return for it. Where are the interface improvements? Where is the testing capability? Where is the site opt-out? Where is the customer service??? I mean, am I going to be able to get a hold of one of your Platinum "customer service" reps to help me make these mass changes to my ads? I doubt it.

Cmon Yahoo, you're just shoving changes down our throats without any clear benefit to the advertiser.

What am I missing here?

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Old 12-20-2005   #11
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Change Is Inevitable

.... embrace it
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Old 12-21-2005   #12
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Location advertising

I've go to say I agree with Melissa, I look after a number of clients who use PPC to specifically target their advertising. In particular, the identifying of the location of specific retail sites is vital to avoid wasted clicks. Not to mention the frustration caused to potential customers.

By the time we're finished we'll have to create a new language like SMS.
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Old 12-30-2005   #13
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Is it much different than it is now?

Sarah, currently ads running in the side positions on Yahoo only display about 80 characters of the full 190 anyway-- are you saying that this will be further shortened to 70 characters? So although we are entering 190 characters and some partners may choose to run them all, Yahoo will run only 70, even in top positions?

Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 12-30-2005   #14
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One more question

Will the headlines be shorter as well, or will they still be at 40 characters?
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Old 01-03-2006   #15
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Mel is spot on

YahooSarah,

I don't mean to pile on here, but I do want to emphasize Mel's point. This was exactly the kind of news I was hoping NOT to hear. As a matter of fact one of the main reasons I keep telling my clients Y! is still worth it is because we had the ability to better describe their service thus reduce the number of clicks by confused consumers. Now you are taking this one advantage away.

To me it is a simple inverse relationship. The shorter the ad the more clicks with fewer conversions. There is no way you could prove to me that a less informed consumer is a better potential customer.

Think of the marketplace section of any newspaper with thousands of 2 line descriptions for the same or similar item. There is no destinction, and no value to the consumer or advertiser. This is what Y! is headed towards.

Further more what will ads start to look like with no abbreviations, no claims, no numbers, no trademarks and now only 70 characters?

We sell widgets
click here for prices

If this is a must for Y! then please consider providing a mechanism for advertisers to pay for longer ads, or the ability to select only the sites that run longer ads.

I do appreciate your participation in this forum.

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Old 01-03-2006   #16
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Principal of Substitution

Discovery you are right on. The user needs more information before they invest the time to click to the page and the ROI and conversions will be higher with better, (longer), titles and descriptions. Microsoft’s MSN AdCenter allows 25 characters for the title, 70 for the description, 35 for the display URL and 1022 for the Destination URL so they are not much better. Let’s hope that one of the majors gets the message. The search engine ePilot allows 60 for the title and 250 characters for the description and 7Search allows 40 for the title and 190 for the description. They also cost less per click, economic theory applies here with the principal of substitution, go to the better value, higher ROI.

Last edited by Chris_D : 01-04-2006 at 09:59 PM. Reason: Sorry no Sigs - see http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/faq.php?faq=vb_user_maintain#faq_sigfiles
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Old 01-03-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by searchoptimization
They also cost less per click, economic theory applies here with the principal of substitution, go to the better value, higher ROI.
I don't want to get too off-topic, but in my opinion your point is invalid because you are ignoring the result of the click. I would rather pay 50 cents per click than 5 for a term in an engine that will convert to actual leads on a higher percentage. 2nd and 3rd tier engines can promise lower CPC, but the ROI is in most cases that I have seen abysmal. Now if your "return" is simply a visit that can be measured in your log files, human or robotic, then you will have a greater ROI...I'll give you that.
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Old 01-03-2006   #18
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YahooSarah...

Hi Sarah and thanks for opening this up to discussion. My main question is as follows:

Will be we able to use more marketing related verbiage within the ads now? And exclamations?
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Old 01-04-2006   #19
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Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions. I continue to share them with our team and to get back to a couple questions:

Q: currently ads running in the side positions on Yahoo only display about 80 characters of the full 190 anyway-- are you saying that this will be further shortened to 70 characters?

Yes, east rail listings may be truncated slightly as a result of our recent change. That said, our other partners may show up to the full 190 characters, depending on placement.

Q: Will be we able to use more marketing related verbiage within the ads now? And exclamations?

No. There have not been any changes made to our style guidelines.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-04-2006   #20
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What about the headline?

Sarah, are there any changes to the length of the headline?
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