Catherine "Cat" Seda

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yahoo!’s Panama is Here!

The official launch of Yahoo!’s new ad platform (code name “Project Panama”) has been top secret. Until now. It’s officially live.

Seven industry insiders, including me, just spent two days at Yahoo!’s office. We test drove the new platform. It’s good.

Yahoo! has dramatically improved our ability to manage and optimize our pay-per-click campaigns. Below, I’ve explained a few features you might have heard about. I’ve also exposed a few juicy tidbits and bugs I discovered during the meeting too…

Get Ready to Upgrade
Advertisers will start getting invitations with their scheduled upgrade date. Don't panic. You can defer your upgrade until 2007, if you want to wait out the holiday season. Want to get on the new ad platform ASAP? Then request to be upgraded through Yahoo!'s reservation link.

New Account Structure
Two huge improvements include: the ability to set a daily budget and the ability to do geo-targeting, at the Campaign level (note: “Category” has been changed to “Campaign”). Plus, no more writing one ad per keyword; you can assign one ad to an entire ad group. And Yahoo!’s new system lets you multiple ads for each ad group. Here’s the new account structure:
Ad Group

Alerts Feature
This is a handy feature. When you log in, you’ll see “Alerts.” These might reveal that you’ve run out of money. Or, that an ad has been disapproved. Helpful, right? Absolutely. And you can set your own series of Alerts to keep a watchful eye on particular parts of your campaign.

The Budgeting Feature

You’ll love this. This is one of my favorite features. Yahoo! now reveals the percentage of clicks you might get at different bids, for each keyword. While looking at a bar graph, you’ll slide the bid bar up and down to see how much traffic you could get at any bid price. It’s very insightful to see where the spikes in traffic are, at what bid price. Why bid more than you need to get the bulk of the clicks?

Disappearing Ads?
This bug will probably be fixed before I even publish this post. Just in case, I want to let you know about it. After writing my ad copy for a new campaign I created, I hit the “Back” button to see something on a previous screen. Because I didn’t finish the process, my ad disappeared and I had to repeat this step. Arg. That said, if you change to the new ad platform, when you add a new campaign finish the process to make sure that information has been saved by the system.

New Ad Ranking Algorithm
Sigh…no more bid to position. There’s a second phase of Panama coming: the new ad ranking model. Starting sometime in Q1 2007, Yahoo! will rank ads based on advertisers’ maximum bids, the ads’ click-through rate, and other factors. Although quiet about the exact ingredients in their secret sauce, Yahoo! did say that your ad’s landing page quality will impact your ad’s rank. How much? A small degree initially, which may be counted more heavily in future ad ranking updates.

NO! They’ll Killing the Keyword Selector and View Bids Tools!
When Yahoo! changes to their new ad ranking model, the public View Bids tool will disappear. And so might the Keyword Selector Tool. No, no, no. I can let go of the View Bids Tool. But not the Keyword Selector Tool! Even though the search volume isn’t all that accurate, it’s a great tool to show new advertisers the power of doing PPC on Yahoo!. They promised to come up with a better tool. Hmmm…we’ll see. And I’ll keep you posted. Until then, use the View Bids and Keyword Selector Tools like crazy over the next few months.

It sure was nice of Yahoo! to give us play money to test out Panama. Andy Beal and I were fighting over a top spot for a big ‘ole expensive “SEO” keyword. I won! Well, I had the #1 spot until I ran out of money. Then he won. Oh well, we enjoyed our free hour of expensive fame.
That’s all for now. I’ll write more soon. I’d love to hear what you think about Panama. Once you change over to it, come back and share your comments here!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Arbitrage

“Arbitrage” is taking advantage of price differences in the market.

Some pay-per-click arbitrageurs make an extra $10,000+ a month. Want to know how?

First, they host ads on their sites/blogs. Google AdSense and the Yahoo! Publisher Network are two popular programs that pretty much let anyone become an ad publisher. Next, arbitrageurs bid on pay-per-click ads (for example, through Google and Yahoo!) as advertisers. If they pay less for buying clicks than what they receive for the ads hosted on their sites/blogs, they’ve made an easy profit. That’s basically pay-per-click (PPC) arbitrage.

Here’s an article I recently wrote: Search Arbitrage: Good or Evil? As a marketer, do you love or hate this practice. Why? As a consumer, how do you feel when you click on a search engine’s PPC ad only to get another page of ads? Would anything make that a good experience?

P.S. BUSINESS OWNERS: Want to make extra money from ads? In my new course, I show you a simple, non-techie step for putting ads on a blog in less than 5 minutes (psss…watch lesson #7 on the Google AdWords CD-ROM).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Headline that Turns Heads

You never get a second chance to grab your audience’s attention, so give center stage to your headlines!

Care to share a headline that made your sales soar? Or, tell me how you took a headline that tanked and turned it into a winner. And where did you use this headline? In a press release, pay-per-click ad, e-mail subject line, landing page or blog? Inquiring minds want to know!