Yahoo! To Microsoft Transition Survival Guide

The countdown to the Yahoo! And Microsoft integration has begun, and could be in full effect for PPC advertising as soon as November 1st. The transition from Yahoo! Search Marketing to Microsoft adCenter has filled our office with a mixture of excitement and nerves. As campaign managers, we have many questions about the impending changes and how they will affect our accounts. Some of the campaign settings and features in Yahoo! will transition over, whereas some will need to be reset once the campaigns are in adCenter. Lets take a look at some of the different features in Yahoo and MSN and how they compare to one another.

Distribution Settings

Yahoo! Distribution Tactic allows users to set ad group distribution into the content or search network at the account level. AdCenter will give you more control over your account by allowing you to set the distribution at the ad group level. You can choose to set each individual ad group to display in the search auction, content auction, or both. When you are importing your account, the distribution setting in Yahoo! will be maintained in adCenter. For example, if you import an account which has content match turned off in Yahoo!, the content network will be turned off for each ad group in MSN. If you are creating a new campaign or ad group in adCenter however, content network distribution will be automatically be turn on.

Search Network

Microsoft adCenter has actually updated their search network function to align with the current network distribution feature in Yahoo!.  The new Enhanced Search Network Distribution feature provides three options on which to display search ad groups.

  1. All Bing and Yahoo! search networks and syndicated search partners. (default)
  2. Only Bing and Yahoo! Search syndicated partners.
  3. Only Bing and Yahoo! sites in the U.S. and Canada.

When you transition your accounts your Network Distribution settings in Yahoo! Search Marketing will not automatically carry over into adCenter. All search ad groups will be set to distribute at the default setting and you will have to go back and change the settings in adCenter.

Language and Market Settings

This setting allows you to choose the language in which ads are written and the market or websites in which ads are distributed. In Yahoo! this was set at the account level, but in adCenter you can set different language and marketing settings at the ad group level.  The major difference between the two search engines is that Microsoft has three different marketing choices for North America: the United States, English-Speaking Canada, and French Speaking Canada. Yahoo! has only one setting for North American Marketing and any campaigns with this setting will default to the English-United States language and market.

If you want to run an English North American campaign it may be best to create separate ad groups targeted at the United States and English-Speaking Canadian markets. Ads in the United States market will be distributed on and while Canadian targeted ads will show on and

Targeting Features

Currently both search engines allow for targeting at the ad group and campaign levels, but you will have to make changes to your targeting settings once your accounts are in Microsoft. There are five different target settings you can apply in adCenter:

  1. Target by age and gender
  2. Target by day of week and time of day
  3. Target by device
  4. Target by location
  5. Add incremental bids to targets. AdCenter allows you to set additional bids in 10 point intervals from 0-100 percent over the base bid. This incremental bid is applied when a customer who meets your criteria clicks your ad.

There are also some targeting features available in Yahoo! which will not be transitioned into adCenter.

  1. Targeting by postal code. You will have to target by metro areas or cities.
  2. Cannot block continents. If you had blocked countries you will have to instead target customers using geographic location
  3. Cannot block 0-17 age range. Instead of blocking an age group, you will have to specifically target certain age groups.
  4. Cannot target by mobile carrier. Instead use device tracking and target mobile devices.

Website Exclusion

You will get more control over website exclusions in adCenter than you do in Yahoo!. Currently, Yahoo! allows you to block up to 500 domains you do not want to show on for both content and search at the account level. In MSN you can block up to 500 sites at the campaign and ad group levels. This option was previously only available for content ads in adCenter but now covers search ads as well. Blocked domains will not be transitioned over so you will need to reenter any websites you want to exclude.

Username and Password

This is by far my favorite feature of Microsoft adCenter. If you manage multiple accounts with adCenter you can have one username and password set at the customer level through which you can access multiple accounts. With Yahoo! you had to use separate logins for each. Having access to all the accounts you manage through one login will be a great time saver and will greatly benefit users. If you do not currently have an adCenter login you will be able to create one at the time of transition.

Conversion Tracking

The conversion tracking feature is another that adCenter has recently implemented to align with Yahoo!’s current settings. AdCenter’s advanced conversion analytics feature will allow users to track multiple conversion goals, track sales, create and apply segment reports, and analyze keyword-level data. Your conversion tracking settings in Yahoo will be imported if you use the transition tool with Yahoo! Search Marketing. However, it is not automatically enabled in ad center. You will need to enable this feature in adCenter campaigns, set your conversion goals, and get and apply tracking codes.

Conversion tracking is set at the campaign level and the same code applies to all the campaigns in an account. Eventually you will have to re-tag all your sites with the Microsoft tracking tags, but during the transition Yahoo! tracking tags will continue to be tracked by adCenter.

After you enable analytics in your campaigns you will be able to access five new reports. You can gather data via five new campaign analytics reports.

  1. Conversion reports that provide data on impressions, clicks, conversions, and revenue.
  2. Goal reports that show performance statistics associated with each step leading to the goal.
  3. Traffic sources reports that show conversion and goal data by traffic source domain names.
  4. Segments reports with conversion and goal data by geographic and demographic attributes.
  5. Tactics and channels reports with data about the performance of ad campaigns served through third-party advertising channels.

Those are just some of the differences you will encounter while transitioning your account from Yahoo! to Microsoft.  If you have any other differences between Yahoo! and adCenter features and setting please post them below.