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Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance Workshop

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Last week I attended the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance Workshop at the fantastic Soho Hotel. This was a chance to learn more about the experience of the Alliance in the US, best practices for the transition and to ask questions from the account managers and Search Alliance team.

Thanks to our brilliant Head of Operations here at Found we have the technical aspects of moving accounts and setting up Insertion Orders (IOs) covered. However it was interesting to hear some additional tips for a smooth transition as well as key concerns other advertisers had and I thought I’d share a few here:

1.    Budgets: There was some concern at the workshop over whether the creation of additional IOs would lead to overspending. The solution here is to ensure your budgets are well managed. In order to have the most control possible I would recommend setting daily spend budgets, especially in case of traffic and CPC increases.

2.    Monitor CPCs: Before the alliance took place in North America there were concerns that we would see a dramatic increase in CPCs. We were assured that despite a slight increase in CPCs, improvements in ROI more than made up for this. While this might be the case I would still be wary and monitor CPCs and ROI even more closely than usual following the transition. One space is often busier than there other and often there are certain advertisers that are only on one engine. These will now all be competing on the same space. For example, on the keyword [pet insurance] there are nine advertisers on Bing:

 On Yahoo! there are four advertisers that don’t appear on Bing:

 These advertisers will now all be thrown together and the increased competition will increase CPCs and lower conversion rates. New tactics & re-optimisations will have to occur in order to maintain performance and continue growth on our campaigns.

3.    Keywords: Along with your Yahoo! Account Manager you should be transferring campaigns, ad groups and keywords not already in your AdCenter accounts over from Yahoo!. Now is a good time to review the accounts, expand keywords and think about importing any changes or new campaigns you have in your Google accounts in to AdCenter.

As PPC Analysts it is inevitable, considering its dominance of the market, that most of our time is dedicated to managing our Google campaigns. However, with the Alliance we will now be able to spend less time managing two separate campaigns and invest more time optimising the one. While we will lose the granular ability to analyse each search engine separately I feel that the time saved will more than make up for this. On top of this, Microsoft seem to be taking this opportunity to make changes to AdCenter and the Desktop tool such as making it easier to make bulk changes, import from Google and target users meaning the time we do spend on these campaigns is used even more efficiently.

Despite Yahoo! and Bing’s combined market share still being well behind Google’s, with more efficient optimisation and effective tools I predict that more time and attention will be paid to Yahoo! and Bing campaigns in the future and hopefully they will give us some great results in return.