Month: January 2016

Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week: Facebook super-takes over the whole digital world, Instagram gets crazy-prolific with its ads and we reveal the internet’s most used phrase. Shockingly it’s not adding “crazy” or “super” to the beginning of verbs and adjectives.

Facebook reveals Q4 and and full year 2015 results

Facebook basically crushed it in 2015. Facebook native videos are beginning to rival YouTube, with 8 million videos being watched each day. Facebook ended the year with 50 million small business pages (5 million of which were created in Q4) in its network and it’s daily active users topped 1.04 billion.

Here are the highlights:

  • Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 80% of advertising revenue for Q4 2015, up from 69% of advertising revenue in Q4 2014.
  • Revenue for the full year 2015 was $17.93 billion, an increase of 44% year-over-year.
  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 1.04 billion on average for December 2015, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • Mobile DAUs were 934 million on average for December 2015, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.59 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 1.44 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 21% year-over-year.

Gmail’s Inbox now has improved search results

Google’s email app Inbox can now serve faster results from emails buried deep in your conversations. For example, when you’re searching for a frequent flyer number or shipping status, Inbox will show it at the top of search results so you don’t have to dig through individual emails to find it.

*drum roll* Introducing our first ever in-article gif…

gmail inbox

Underneath these quick answers you’ll now see a ‘top results’ section that orders emails by relevance, then below you’ll find all the email results, ordered by date.

Although Google is confident enough to suggest “you won’t have to look there often.” A bold statement.

Instagram increases the number of ads it shows

Brand Networks has revealed the reason why you’re seeing more ads in your Instagram feed than ever before. It’s because there’s more of them. Yep.

Brand Network saw 50 million ad impressions on Instagram in August, which then doubled 100 million ad impressions September, and then grew to a massive 670 million ad impressions in December.


Increasing demand caused a surge in pricing for the Instagram’s Ads API Partner Program. Video advertising is also rising to prominence quickly. According to Brand Networks, “Over the past six months, we’ve learned that users are willing to increase their time spent interacting with a brand when shown a short video clip.”

“Thank you” is the most popular phrase used online in the UK

New research from Feefo highlights that Britiah people are so terribly, terribly polite.

In the UK, 87% of people reviewing online are twice as likely to give praise than when face-to-face and “thank you” is the most popular phrase used online even when complaining, by 58% of us (oh no! I gave away my nationality!)

Feefo also revealed the UK’s biggest gripes when it comes to complaining about damaged goods:

A damaged order (74%)
An incorrect product delivery (68%)
Cold food in a restaurant (66%)
No arrival of delivery (61%)
Rude service from staff (59%)

Facebook introduces new Audience Optimization Targeting

As Contentive’s Head of Search and axe-wielding god of heavy metal Matt Owen wrote here on SEW earlier in the week, “Over the past few years, declining organic reach has become a major issue for publishers using Facebook, [but] it’s good to see the platform launching tools that are specifically designed to combat this.”

Check out Matt’s detailed guide how to use it by clicking on the link above.

Read Full Article Here:


10 reasons why you should definitely come to Connect

Please excuse the rather self-serving article, but we are running a new search event called Connect on 4th & 5th February that we’re very proud of and we think you should come.

We’re aware that you have a choice of many different digital marketing events throughout the year, and you may be wondering what makes ours so special… well. I’ll tell you…

1) It’s in Miami. Look at at Miami, doesn’t it look nice. And it’s almost definitely much warmer than where you are right now…

Courtesy of @iamNigelMorrisImage courtesy of iamNigelMorris

2) More specifically, Connect is taking place at the Ritz-Carlton. Look at the Ritz-Carlton, doesn’t it look nice? And it’s almost definitely much swankier than where you are right now…

ritz carlton

3) Our focus this year is all about putting the user first. Arguably the most important thing you need to be doing as a marketer in 2016. Connect’s two-track educational agenda has been designed to lead the discussion in the very latest technology, strategy and thinking across paid & organic search, in order to acquire and delight customers.

4) There’ll be 500+ of your peers attending. Everyone from SEO specialists, digital marketers, webmasters, developers, business leaders and industry professionals, all of whom you can network with until you’re told to leave the building because the Ritz-Carlton carpets can’t withstand another spilled Pina Colada.

5) It’s difficult to know where to begin with our excellent line-up of speakers. It’s a who’s who of industry leaders and innovators, from brands as diverse as LEGO, Macy’s, MTV, Office Depot, OpenTable and Forrester.

Speakers Connect by Search Engine Watch

Speakers at connect sew

6) I was going to then name all 40+ speakers and call them reasons 8 – 48 but that would be cheating, and you should expect better from us than that.

7) The first ‘must see’ on your speaker list is Avinash Kaushik, Author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google.

avinash kaushik

Avinash will be presenting his highly acclaimed See, Think, Do, Care: Driving Innovation from Customer Intent framework during his keynote session on day two, Avinash will be looking beyond search to analyze how ‘Content + Marketing + Measurement’ can transform your campaigns.

8) It’s SEW’s 20th birthday! You should come help us celebrate. We promise not to get all maudlin like we did at our last birthday party.

9) Among many other networking opportunities, we’re most excited about our Thursday night beach party sponsored by Bing. This will take place on the Ocean Front Lawn and through a private entrance to the beach from 6pm – 8pm. Bring as many inflatables as you managed to fit in your travel bag.

Networking Events Connect

10) I’ll be there (yeah, whoop right?) I’ll be giving the introductory remarks and general house-keeping. In fact I could probably save us all some time and cover a few things here… “Hi, welcome to Connect, the fire-exits are towards the back of the room, use the hashtag #connectsew, please don’t forget to top-up your suncream, hecklers will be ejected, thanks for coming!” Nailed it.

Convinced? Great! You can register here.

Read Full Article Here:

5 Tips to Understanding Reciprocal Links for Small Businesses

When it comes time to build links, you’re likely going to be faced with a dilemma known as reciprocal linking. Whenever you try to earn a backlink on a website, whether it be through contributing a guest article or otherwise, there is often a chance that the Webmaster you’re speaking with is going to want to earn a backlink from your website in return. Sure they get your great content, but why not push the envelope and try to get even more from this new partnership? After all, you might be tempted to do this when someone approaches you for a link on your website, so you can’t blame someone for asking.

This will then put you in a position to make a decision about reciprocal linking. If you do not allow a featured piece of content and backlink on your website, that website might not give you the opportunity on their site. In other words, you lose the partnership and the backlink if you don’t reciprocate. However, is a link exchange just going to cancel out the link you wanted to earn in the first place? Is it worth it? This is the big question, and it’s actually a somewhat complicated answer.

When to Use Reciprocal Links for Success

We covered this topic back in 2012 here, but things have changed since then. In the past reciprocal linking was more widely used and accepted because link building was seen as a good practice. Today, it’s important to focus on readers and not SEO. In the end, reciprocal linking really can work for your visibility as well as for SEO purposes, so it’s not something you should immediately dismiss. However, there are a few different things that you must keep in mind if you want it to work:

  • Only link when it is natural and relevant.

These rules apply even when you’re not reciprocal linking, but it’s important to point out because it’s more tempting to ignore this rule. You might want to put a reciprocal link in the sidebar so that it doesn’t hold as much weight, but this isn’t going to look natural to Google. The same can be said if you’re linking to something that isn’t relevant to your industry or website. You have to follow the rules if you don’t want to get penalized.

  • Do not build your campaign around this system.

It’s not a good idea to build your entire link building campaign around reciprocal linking because then you’re canceling out all of your hard work (more or less). Things are going to move faster if you’re building links and not giving them right back. After all, the goal is to earn links naturally in the copy of the text without ever having to ask for them.

  • It’s usually not worth it to reciprocate with a competitor.

It’s best if you can engage in reciprocal linking with a company that compliments your company and does not compete directly. For example, if you’re a dentist, consider reciprocal linking with a toothbrush company as opposed to another dentist. This will help make sure that the links are not going to compete with each other.

  • Consider the authority of the other website.

It’s always a good idea to check the authority of the website you might exchange a link with. If your website has a PageRank 6 and a PageRank 3 wants a link on your website, it might not be worth it to give a link to that page. It’s true that PageRank isn’t everything so there will certainly be exceptions, but I find this is a good place to start. You can then evaluate the site in terms of quality and potential. If the site isn’t up to par, you would be getting a weaker link than your competitor would be getting, so be careful.

It’s important to understand that in the end when you monitor backlinks, your links will be devalued if you’re engaging in a lot of reciprocal linking. Nevertheless, you’re still earning that visibility and you still are giving a relevant audience the chance to click on your link.

A Quick Tip: Remember; don’t offer if you’re not asked!

When Reciprocal Links Are Best Left Untouched

You have to be very careful with reciprocal linking because too much can get you penalized by Google. Search Engine Watch actually labeled too much excessive linking as a gray hat SEO tactic. In the past, websites were exchanging links at a very fast pace, which was not helping readers at all. Google of course put a stop to this and labeled it “link farming.” To make a long story short, it is OK if you want to engage in reciprocal linking following some of the rules above, but do not do this all the time. A few reciprocal links here and there should be plenty to get you that link you wanted on that great site but not put you on trial for link farming.

What are your thoughts on reciprocal linking? Have you found this strategy to be successful, and if so, are there any rules that you tried to follow to make sure you were successful? Let us your thoughts in the comments below.

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18 expert quotes from ClickZ’s Digital Trends 2016 Report

Our sister site ClickZ has launched its first Intelligence report of 2016 and it’s a firecracker.

The Digital Trends 2016 report is a comprehensive guide to all the digital-related trends you need to know about in 2016.

Sure every digitally-focused publisher has its own trends report, but what makes ours stand out from the rest is the sheer weight of expert opinion throughout its 46 pages, with more than 40 specialist contributors giving their insight on the most pressing topics, including: ecommerce, content marketing, customer experience and, of course, search.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s completely free! You just need to fill in a quick registration form.

To whet your appetite further, I’ve compiled a few of the reports most insightful quotes covering all of the topics…


Paul Rouke, Founder and Director of Optimisation, PRWD:

“Data scientist will become one of the hottest and in-demand roles – although the vast majority of people relabelling themselves as one will be years away from having the experience and knowledge to warrant such a title.”

Jonathan Beeston, Managing Director, Croud UK:

“It could be a transformative year for brand advertising as YouTube and Facebook go up a gear with video. If Snapchat can find the right model, it could be explosive.”

Content Marketing

Andy Betts, chief marketer and consultant:

“Producing content for content’s sake is a 2015 tactic that will become more redundant in 2016. Last year’s comfort metrics, such as shares and likes, will be re- placed in 2016 with more meaningful measures such as engagement, reach and audience.”

Kevin Lee, Executive Chariman, Didit:

“The rise of ad blockers combined with the ‘banner blindness’ caused by 20 years of mind-numbingly off-target banners are forcing a doubling down on true native advertising.”

clickz content marketing on mobile

Customer Experience

Helen Colclough, Ecommerce Development Manager, River Island:

“It doesn’t have to be an ‘either/or’ situation. The mobile website has its purpose, but apps can help retailers to provide a great experience for the most engaged customers.”

Paul Rouke, Founder and Director of Optimisation, PRWD:

“[A key trend will be] the slow, quite painful move of brands starting to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to truly understanding their visitors and customers, and harnessing these in- sights to improve their customer experience through data-driven optimisation.”

Data and Analytics

Andrew Hood, Managing Director, Lynchpin:

“People will become increasingly philosophical about ‘big data’ as technologies mature, the hype starts to subside, and it becomes more a case of ‘cheaper and faster data’. Faster will quickly become the most important factor as demand for data feeds for (up-to-date) personalisation become the critical norm.”

Benjamin Spiegel, CEO, MMI Agency:

“The ingestion of streaming data will become a key requirement for digital leaders. With rising competition in the digital advertising space the ability to ingest, analyse and act on data within a minimal time window is a crucial requirement for digital leadership. I expect to see a lot of disruptive technology solutions emerge in the next months in both the open source as well as the VC space.”


James Gurd, Owner, Digital Juggler:

“Speed and flexibility are both important. The time to consumer is constantly reducing with the introduction of services like Amazon Prime Now. Multichannel retailers like House of Fraser and Argos have ramped up their Buy & Collect offer with later cut off times for next day delivery, and local collection services like Collect+, Amazon Lockers and Doddle have given consumers more choice.”

Tessa Wegert, Media Strategist and Content Developer:

“2015 was the experimentation stage, and a time for gathering insight into consumer preferences and behaviour. Now, social sites will get to the business of tweaking their tools, and brands will be better equipped to know what social commerce strategy is most likely to pay off.”

Email marketing

Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee:

“Email in 2016 is going to be much like email was in 2015, and 2014, and 2013 – insofar as it’s still going to be the highest performing online channel out there. 2015 was the year of ‘email automation’ and most brands either have programmes in place, or are planning them.”

Tim Watson, Founder, Zettasphere:

“The idea in some circles that triggered emails replace broadcast is wrong… The future is integrating broadcast and triggered emails. We can expect to see the best email marketing programmes in 2016 use the same type of intelligence for sending triggered email in broadcast email marketing.”

clickz email marketing


Greg Stuart, CEO, Mobile Marketing Association:

“Brands will drastically shift to mobile video, realising that it is hugely underpriced by more than 50 per cent compared to its effectiveness. Mobile audio and ‘sound’ as a strategy is a huge opportunity and mobile brings this to life.”

Andy Favell, Digital and Mobile Consultant:

“The majority of mobile development today is still focused on consumer applications and services that are at best nice-to-have and at worst pointless. This is changing because such initiatives often don’t deliver return on investment for businesses – measured either in terms of financial rewards, customer loyalty or brand perception.”


Jon Earnshaw, CTO, Pi Datametrics:

“The kids out there are leading the way – asking questions and refining further questions based on the answers they receive as they engage in something best described as a dialogue that in the not too distant future will see Google exhibiting behaviour capable of passing the Turing test.”

Mags Sikora, Co-Founder, PeriodBox:

“Can your customer service affect SEO? Absolutely! A large number of negative complaints may lead to negative reviews and non-flattering mentions across blogs! We really have to delight the customer across the entire brand experience and that doesn’t finish with the moment of purchase. That delight should be the driver behind all our actives.”

Social Media

Bob Cargill, Director Of Social Media, Overdrive Communications:

“Scheduling a series of messages, posts and updates on a regular basis may put you in the game, but the only way to win is to show that you’re alive and kicking, not some robot. Real time is big time on social media.”

Maggie Malek, Head Of Social And PR, MMI Agency:

“Brands will only matter if consumers’ needs and desires are central to everything they do. Listening to the consumer— with our data brains as well as our hearts — can help us discover the stories worth telling.”

Download the full 46-page Digital Trends 2016 report now. 

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Are SEOs focusing on the wrong target?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life in the SEO world. But I’m here to say that our discipline is led by a false premise. We’re all chasing the wrong rabbit (or hog/unicorn/insert your favorite elusive animal here).

Take the term ‘SEO’, for instance. Search engine optimization is defined by Wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results”. But I propose that the ultimate objective for SEO is not to get engines to recognize our relevance to a searcher’s query but to actually get our audience to value what we’re publishing and become loyal brand advocates.

To do this, search marketers must continue maturing into integrated digital marketing strategists who understand, and can act on, the key business objectives of your company.

We spend countless hours examining keywords, traffic volumes, recommended bids, but really what it comes down to is value to the user. And this practically means content – while content components (links, meta tags, length, readability, Open Graph markup, etc.) are important for relevance, they aren’t measured for value to the searcher. What value, you say? The value that our content provides to our audience – and, yes, I realize that value is difficult to measure quantitatively.

One small way SEO value can be represented is by social sharing metrics. It’s like the old word-of-mouth advertising – if someone likes our brand, they’ll tell someone else. Over the past few years, social factors have become an important correlation for ranking. But to be truly effective at building social presence, hence effectively execute SEO, it’s our content that must do the work.

It’s about content

I realize you’ve heard the mantra for years: content is king! But why is it king? Good content doesn’t rule because Google thinks it’s relevant. Content is king because it’s how we appeal to consumers.

I’m reminded of an SEO joke:

  • Q: Why do SEO professionals date people based on personality instead of looks?
  • A: They know better than anyone that search engines are blind and that content matters most.

Our content represents our personality; our page rankings represent our looks. This is the true reason content is king. SEO is always changing, but what doesn’t change is our need to deliver helpful, delightful, and rewarding content.

Data paralysis

Of course, SEO starts with data. Although we need data analysis to sharpen our focus, sometimes we just have to go for it. We can’t expect to hit it right on every keyword, so why are we spending so much timed deliberating over keywords?

Today, far beyond being a mere distraction, data and information overload are cited as being negatively impactful on humans and businesses. Reuters conducted a study titled Dying for information, in which 43% of respondents thought that decisions were delayed and otherwise adversely affected by “analysis paralysis” or the existence of too much information, 66% of respondents associated information overload with tension among colleagues and loss of job satisfaction and 42% attributed ill-health to this stress.

We are immersed in ‘big data’ all the time. So when is the right time to make a decision about our SEO campaigns? Maybe never, if we continue with over-analysis.

Adobe’s Digital Roadblock survey found that more than half of marketing leaders trust their gut when it comes to directing budgets, including SEO team budgets. Instead of following the data, they choose to move on gut instinct. What? After all that analysis? Well, actually that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes you’ve just got to take some risks.

adobe roadblock graph

Taking risks

One of the key takeaways was that digital marketers believe they should take more risks. Well, I think this applies to SEO teams.

Even if we can calculate a winning formula (boy, I wish I could have done that in the recent Powerball lottery!) we can’t know for certain what our markets will respond to. So take a risk and move forward. When all the analysis is done, we’re still left with the risk that our campaigns will not prove successful. We’ve got to get past the data paralysis and chart a direction for our campaigns.

Charting a direction

So, we’ve spent exhaustive hours poring over spreadsheets filled with keywords, data, URLs, and projections and yet we find ourselves at a loss to explain to our brand leaders why our SEO campaigns aren’t scoring well, despite the SEO team’s commendable optimization efforts.

Poor results are likely not due to selecting the most appropriate keywords, they’re due to the fact that we aren’t clearly focused on the individuals interested in what we have to offer. Remember, we all act in more than one capacity. We are workers, lovers, friends, coaches, volunteers. Our multi-faceted existence represents us as a whole. It’s that whole person who represents our target, not Google.

Therefore, SEO leaders should spend more time focusing on the overall campaign strategy, getting alignment with business objectives, and thinking about what improving the customer’s experience really means to their organization.

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25 Content, Mobile, and Video Stats to Help Spearhead Your 2016 Online Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re writing an article, trying to convince your boss about some of your ideas, want to learn more, or just need some motivation, there are so many staggering online marketing statistics out there that can help get you to that next level. It helps to continually read statistics each year because they’re always changing (big surprise there), so the beginning of the year is a great time to take a glance and see what is most meaningful to you and your company.

We gathered statistics from around the web covering content, mobile, and video, so consider some of the following statistics below from late 2014 to today to help guide your future efforts, and check out the full studies to learn more.

Content Marketing Statistics

  • Content marketing in 2015 generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. (HubSpot)
  • 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. (CMO Council)
  • The top five priorities content creators will focus on this year: Creating more engaging content (72%); Better understanding of what content is effective and what isn’t (65%); Finding more/better ways to repurpose content (57%); Creating visual content (51%); Becoming better storytellers (41%).  (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
  • In a survey of 745 marketers, a quarter of respondents are devoting more than 50% of their budgets to content. (Contently)
  • Inefficiency in content production results in an estimated $958 million each year in excessive spend for mid-to-large B2B companies. (Gleanster Research)
  • Seventy-two percent of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements: 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR. (Kapost)
  • By 2016 60% of companies will have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (e.g., Chief Content Officer, VP or director of content) (Curata)
  • The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion in 2018. It will be one of the fastest-growing areas in high tech, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%. (IDC)
  • Long-form blog posts generate 9x more leads than short-form blog posts. (Curata)

Mobile Marketing Statistics

  • 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. (Search Engine Watch)
  • Mobile ad spendis expected to increase from $42.63 million in 2014 to around $69 million in 2015, and is showing no sign of stopping. By 2016, the amount spent on mobile ads could be more than $100 billion. (eMarketer)
  • According to their own data in Q3 2014, smartphone traffic to ecommerce sites grew by more than 62 percent and revenue grew 141 percent. (MarketLive)
  • iAcquirestates that 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour. (iAcquire)
  • According to comScore, 46% of shoppers say they are less likely to shop around for other options when they’re using a company’s mobile app. This data was compiled from a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. online shoppers that asked them questions about their shopping behavior. (comScore)
  • The two most popular ways companies are optimizing for mobile are 1. Using a simple template that works for all devices (52%) and 2. Creating a mobile responsive email template (39%). (Adestra, 2014)
  • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (CMS Report, 2015)
  • Extra: Check out our past article on Mobile Statistics from 2015 here.

Video Marketing Statistics

  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn)
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. (Syndacast)
  • By 2018,mobile video will represent 69% of all mobile traffic, which is an increase from 53% in 2013. Last year, users watched about two hours of video per month on their mobile phones. (Forbes)
  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.(Adobe)
  • 75% of B2B organizations optimize their video for SEO. (ReelSEO)
  • “How to” searches on YouTube are up 70% year over year. (Google)

Any statistics you’d like us to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below. We hope to keep growing this list throughout the year, so the more input we have from other companies and case studies the better.

is courtesy of

What you need to know about Yahoo Product Ads

Back in November 2015, Yahoo Product Ads officially launched, an umbrella name that encompassed a few different types of ad units within the Yahoo Gemini universe.

I’ve been working specifically with the Search Product Ads unit, which appears on search results properties with feed driven product ad units.

You might be saying, “Wait, those were there before!” and you would be right. What’s changed is now those ads can now be served by Yahoo from Yahoo submitted feeds through a Yahoo Gemini Merchant Center.

Previously, that inventory had primarily come from the Bing partnership that was renegotiated earlier in 2015. As a result, the amount of traffic being served from Bing Ads started to shift, especially as it pertained to mobile, of which most of the product ads are to come from Yahoo Product Ads or their partners, which does include the deal they also signed with Google in October 2015.

Things to beware of

Yahoo has begun to take advantage of this Google deal, serving Google Product Listing Ads and Bing Ads Product Ads on some desktop SERPs as a part of the search partner network, as well as testing text ads with extensions from Google in the sidebar results.

Which means that if you are advertising on Google and Bing currently there’s a good chance, particularly in desktop results, that your ads are showing on SERPs in a multitude of variations of product and text ads from all three engines.


  • If you don’t have a Yahoo account representative, you may not be able to get started yet, otherwise, you’ll need to email the support team and wait for enablement
  • You’ll want to make sure the category that you want to advertise in is ‘open’ first
  • To submit a feed, you need a Dropbox account set up by Yahoo or Fetch
  • The feed specs for Yahoo mimics Google very closely, you should be able to utilize almost the exact same feed
  • There is not an offline editor and you can create campaigns by hand through the bulk import process, or
  • You could utilize your existing Google AdWords account structure and import as is into the account
  • If you have a small to mid-size budget and pressed for time to manage, consider simplifying or collapsing a few of the product groups or campaigns (don’t send your entire Google account)
  • Not all third party tools support this feature yet, so if you have a bid management tool, check to make sure that they’re up and running
  • Billing is the same, if within an up and running Yahoo Gemini account

What we’ve seen so far

There’s definitely some ‘wait and see’ going on right now in terms of adoption rates of the program in the industry and I would expect that in your day to day, you’re already running up against a time constraint to launch and possibly budget issues as well.

I’ve also run into a couple of industry friends that have had trouble launching, due to account enablement or open categories. I would recommend that if you can’t do your entire catalog, choosing a few test campaigns where you have solid volume on Google or Bing in which to capture that traffic that lives between the two search engines.

I’ve also observed that it also matters what category or categories your catalog is in. Apparel was one of the earliest launched categories during the beta and has a lot of strength in terms of volume of impressions and clicks, where as other categories, like Food & Beverage aren’t really built out yet.

Other strong categories that may make Yahoo Product Ads worth it for you now are Electronics, Sporting Goods, Health & Beauty and Home & Garden. If you’re in a smaller niche like Pet Supplies or Luggage, don’t expect volume and performance that competes with Google or Bing.

During an early beta test for a large retailer for one vertical that contained at least a hundred thousand SKUs and a healthy sized budget that was in the apparel category, we saw return for the campaigns at a promising six times, but with an overall volume (impressions and clicks) that was smaller than Bing Ads Product Ads during the test period.

In total from beta launch to when the feature was opened up publically, the CPC has averaged out to .25 with some further tweaking planned, now that more optimization options are available than there were during the beta.

Most of the estimates I’ve been seeing for specific categories have had high impressions, low CTR, but also a low CPC (under .50 cents), very reminiscent of early content network stats.

What we need

I understand the low adoption rate right now for Yahoo Product Ads – it’s new, there’s a lot of cloudiness around Google and Bing’s involvement and whenever that happens, the wait and see attitude comes out. But I do have a wish list of features needed to really convince clients and other paid search industry folks to give this new ad unit a try:

  • Easily accessible estimates or ranges for categories, around impressions or clicks (anything to help determine what the potential opportunity might be)
  • Case studies on return, CPC or even engagement metrics like new to file visitors, lift in organic or assisted conversions
  • Easier account start up, no rep needed and feed submittal directly through the Merchant Center
  • Offline editor
  • Ad scheduling by hour of the day and day of the week capabilities

Clearly, Yahoo is just getting started in the product ads space and with their heavy investments in mobile and acquisitions like Polyvore and Brightroll, logically there is a lot of potential for advertisers needing to capture new eyeballs, especially with the depreciation of some of the comparison shopping channels for more niche discovery shopping markets.

However, the addition of both Google and Bing ad units to the SERPs makes it harder to justify the management and cost of a third platform, which means that the wait and see is going to continue for now.

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