Best Practices for YSM Network Distribution

Last week I introduced the expanded Yahoo (YSM) network distribution options and how to find and change your account settings. As promised, this post will focus on some best practices to restructure your Yahoo campaigns to target both search and search partners.

If you are like most pay-per-click managers, your YSM account is probably a cloned export of your Google AdWords account (excluding the content network campaigns of course). Assuming your AdWords account has a strong structure, duplication across search engines is still a good practice. However, with Yahoo’s new features, can take your campaigns to the next level. It is time to revisit your Yahoo campaign structure to get the most out of the network distribution features.

How the Search Partner Network Works
First things first, Yahoo! Search Partners and Content Match are two completely different animals and it is important that you don’t confuse the two. Yahoo’s content match displays ads based on specific web page content, geographic location and/or user profile. As cautioned in the past, the content match can spend a lot of money quickly. If you are running a lead-based campaign, watch your ROI very closely.

The Yahoo! Search Partners is a network of larger websites that have partnered with Yahoo, including, MSNBC, and USA If you enable Search Partners with your pay-per-click account, then your ads will appear on these websites.

How to Structure Your Campaigns

  1. Maintain Focused Campaigns/Ad Groups. Factors used to determine your account quality index in Yahoo have not changed.  It is still important to structure your campaigns and ad groups into highly focused content silos. This will enable you to write highly targeted ad text and drive traffic to highly relevant landing pages. In turn, your click-through rates will increase and your quality index will be stronger. If your Yahoo pay-per-click account is a mess, I strongly recommend a restructure before moving on to #2.
  2. Separate Yahoo! Search and Search Partners. Yahoo now allows you to control your keyword bids on their search partner network. Performance varies greatly across Yahoo Search and Search Partners. By separating the distribution networks into different campaigns, you will have greater control over bids, allowing you to better maximize ROI.

    To target each network in a separate campaign, simply duplicate your campaigns in the Yahoo interface and set one to target Yahoo! Search and the other to Search Partners. Check out my post from last week to find Yahoo’s network distribution campaign settings.  To help with account management, I strongly recommending modifying the campaign names to include a network targeting qualifier (i.e. Example Campaign – Search and Example Campaign – Partners).

  3. Duplicate Your Campaigns. Thankfully Yahoo now makes it easy for pay-per-click managers to separate Search and Search Partners. Using the “Import Campaigns” function, you can now easily import duplicate campaigns into Yahoo. Just follow these instructions.

Step 1: Export the campaign you choose to duplicate from the Yahoo campaigns tab. Save to your desktop.
Step 2:
Go to the “Import” section within your Yahoo account
Step 3:
Select your file to upload.
Step 4:
From the Duplicate Campaigns dropdown menu, select Create a new campaign. This will create duplicate of the campaign, but it will change the name to Example Campaign (copy001). Since there is a current campaign running, the default will set the new campaign to pause.
Step 5:
Change your network distribution settings for the existing and duplicated campaign.
Step 6:
Add “Search” or “Partner” qualifiers to the campaign names.
Step 7:
Activate the duplicated campaign.

How to Optimize Your Campaigns
Yahoo launched more advanced features to provide more transparency and better management of Search Partner network performance. Use the following features to optimize your newly structured search partner campaigns:

  1. Distribution Quality Report – Use this report to determine your account performance within the entire network, search only, or search partners. This report is very useful in determining whither or not to continue running on the search partner network.
  2. Ad Delivery Report – This report shows specific domains performance (including corresponding conversion metrics) for sites your ads run on within the Yahoo Search Partners. Use this report to identify sites that do not translate into conversions. Since new sites can appear every day, I recommend checking this report once a week to stay on top of high cost, low-converting sites.
  3. Blocked Domains – This feature can by found within your account “Administration” tab. Add low-performing sites identified within the Ad Delivery Report to your campaign exclusions. Yahoo allows up to 500 blocked domains, so use ‘em if you got ‘em!

What is your experience with Yahoo’s network distribution features? Post your thoughts, learnings and/or experiences in the comments below.