Even though we have been managing accounts within Panama for the last five months, we are still acclimating to Yahoo!’s new interface – as I’m certain most online marketers are still trying to gain their bearings as well. Recently we released our handbook, Welcome to the Panama Jungle: a user’s guide to Yahoo!’s new interface, where we talk about the ins and outs of Panama. However, I’m going to discuss four ways you can easily enhance your performance (that are not in the handbook).

  1. You should be testing your ad text (with A/B testing) in order to determine the best message for your target audience. To run a fair, balanced test between two or more ad texts you need to rotate them evenly, giving each ad a chance to prove its salt. In order to make sure your ads are displaying evenly you need to make sure that your ‘optimize ads’ setting is set to ‘no.’ Optimizing your ads is a default setting within Panama when you open a new account or migrate from an old one. To turn off the ad optimizer tool just go into your campaign tab, check every ad group that you want to conduct testing within, click the “Optimize Ads” button, and answer ‘no’ to “Optimize Ad Display.”
  2. We are all striving for a high quality index for each ad text. Seeing all 5 boxes gloriously filled with that highly sought after blue is a great feeling. Unfortunately, just because Yahoo! gives an ad text a high quality index doesn’t mean your audience will like that particular ad best. I have had a number of ads with a mid-level index scores out perform higher ranked ads. Your ad may be relevant to your keywords in the eyes of Yahoo! but if your stats are not holding up, then it’s not relevant in the eyes of your audience. Be sure to keep an eye on this.
  3. Panama has some great new features. One of them is the keyword forecasting tool. When adjusting bids or preferred ad placement you can use the handy graph feature to determine these factors (I’m a visual learner so this appeals to my right-sided brain). However, keep in mind that the forecasting tool is just a forecasting tool, not a fortune teller. You may set your bid to $1 with an estimated position of 3, but that isn’t necessarily what you’re going to get. Recently I was adjusting bids for my keywords and the forecasting tool said I should have an average position of 3.4. Two days later I checked in on my keyword and found my average position was 7.2. This discrepancy may be due to some quality index algorithm issue but I wasn’t even close! Luckily I check my keywords frequently and I adjusted my bids so that my ads were displaying on the first page of results.
  4. While thinking of bidding strategies, you should also be sure to form ad groups with targeted keyword clusters. You can set your bids at the keyword level for the search network but you have to set a default bid for your content distribution at the ad group level (and that bid is applied to all of your keywords in that specific ad group). You may not be able to adjust your content bids at the keyword level but if you cluster your keywords closely then you’ll be able to manage your content bids with greater success. Keyword clustering will allow you to manage you account with greater ease, and great success.

Hopefully these ideas will shed some light on your Panama account. This is the first in what will be a series of posts on how to optimize, streamline and enhance your Yahoo! search marketing efforts.