Since the launch of Panama, Yahoo has instituted a new metric within its interface and reporting functions: assists. YSM’s help section lacks a definition of this term so I will clear the air on what an assist is and how this information is helpful for your PPC campaign.

Definition: An assist is an action that does not generate a conversion, but contributes to a conversion (or assists with a conversion). Here is the breakdown:

  1. A certain keyword within your campaign is searched on.
  2. The user clicks on your ad, checks out your landing page, but decides to continue researching.
  3. The user searches on another keyword, and clicks your PPC ad again.
  4. This time the user hits your landing page and converts (purchases your product, signs up for more information, etc.).
  5. Within YSM’s interface the initial keyword receives an assist. The converting term gets the conversion.
  6. If the same term is queried, clicked twice, and converts, it will receive an assist and a conversion.
  7. Also, keep in mind that Yahoo’s tracking cookie is good for 45 days so you may not even see a conversion and/or assist (or phantom conversion) until long after a click.

Knowing how many assists each keyword contributes can allow you some insight as to how users are interacting with your keywords. You may find that certain keywords generate more assists than conversions, and you can label those as “helper’ keywords.

In regards to helper keywords, assists can tell you where a particular keyword may fall in the buying cycle. If a keyword has assists but no conversions, this can be an indicator that users are searching on this term but they are still shopping around for the best service or deal. If you see this trend for a number of keywords, can you separate them into a unique ad group in order to appeal to those users who are early in the buying cycle? You can target your ads toward educating these people on your products and services.

In summary, assists can give you insight as to how users are interacting with your keywords, they can reveal where users are in the buying cycle, and they may indicate where you can educate these possible customers!