I Personally Feel Yahoo! Is Giving Advertisers Bad Advice

In the latest Yahoo! Search Marketing blog, Kastle Waserman, the Communications Manager in Advertiser Solutions, I feel is giving advertisers some not so great advice when it comes to managing your PPC campaigns.

The blog is titled, “You’re Doing it Wrong”, 5 common mistakes that can hurt your ads’ performance.

Most of the blog post is great. Points 1 through 3 are definitely best practices used among many good PPC advertisers. However, it’s points 4 and 5 that I’m having problems with.

Mistake #4 – Yahoo claims that you should never put your business phone number in your ads. I see why they’re saying this. Because they think that if you put your phone number in your ad text, then the customer will just call instead of clicking on your ad. And then Yahoo! loses money.  If the user does skip clicking on your ad and calls instead, you could decrease your click-through rate resulting in a higher cost-per-click.

I don’t believe a user wouldn’t click on your PPC ad just because you have a phone number listed.  But I like to think about it this way, if you do have your phone number listed and it does make people click through to your site, then you get their business. However if they don’t click on your ad but call the phone number listed in your ad, you get their business.  My point is Yahoo! shouldn’t be telling people that this is a mistake, but rather to test putting phone numbers in your ad text and test it for a while to see what the click-through rate ends up being.  I have tested this method and did receive a higher click-through rate with the phone number in my PPC ad, however, my client didn’t see an increase in phone calls, just an increase in website traffic.

Mistake #5 – Yahoo! says it is NOT okay to see what keywords your competitor are using then coping them.  Typically I don’t agree with copying peoples’ work, but why not in this case?  I think one would be silly to not look at what your competitors are doing and if they happen to bid on a keyword you’re not, then yes, by all means add it to your keyword list.

But most importantly add your competitor’s names to your keyword list. Know that they may not get approved by Yahoo!, but in my experience some competitor’s names will get approved, and I have generated leads off of them.  Just remember that typically you can bid on competitor names, you just can’t have them in your ad text.

In the end, just be sure that when you read advice from other bloggers or Search Agencies, but take it with a grain of salt, becasue until you test it yourself, you’ll never truly know what works and what doesn’t.