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Yahoo Woos Small Biz with Marketing Dashboard

  |  May 2, 2012   |  Comments

New service provides consolidated view of marketing results and reputation.

Yahoo Small Business hopes to grow by offering small businesses an integrated marketing dashboard to manage and expand their digital marketing efforts. The Yahoo Marketing Dashboard, generally available today, provides a consolidated view of a business’s marketing results and reputation.

Tom Byun, general manager, Yahoo Small Business, said the company has almost 10 million small business users of products including Yahoo Finance and mail, as well as "intendeds." "This is a very proven, long-standing business that's also highly profitable," Byun said. "We're now taking it beyond web hosting to, 'How can you help me grow my business and manage it day-to-day?' "

American Express Open is one of the launch sponsors of the management system, which also promotes non-Yahoo marketing platforms like Orange Soda and Constant Contact.

The Yahoo Marketing Dashboard has four components: search engine and directory listings; online reputation management; campaign tracking; and site traffic analysis.


Byun could not confirm that Yahoo Small Business will be placed under the new Commerce division mentioned as part of the restructuring promised by new CEO Scott Thompson, but, with display advertising sales down, the Yahoo Marketing Dashboard could be a solid revenue play.

First, it may convert some of those 10 million potential customers into paying customers for its web hosting and commerce offerings, as well as upgrading users from free to premium versions. Yahoo also gets a lead generation fee for every customer it refers to email firm Constant Contact and digital marketing platform OrangeSoda. To that effect, a recommendation to use OrangeSoda's search engine marketing services is at the top of the overview page.

The dashboard lets SMBs see whether the company is listed in some 100 sites and directories, including Yelp and Yahoo Local. Anything that doesn’t match what Yahoo has on file is flagged with red.

Online reputation management pulls information from up to 8,000 sources (including Facebook and Twitter), providing a bar chart score for the company's reputation. The free version also shows the two most recent comments and reviews that have been made.

The dashboard provides tracking for search engine marketing and search engine optimization. SMBs that use Constant Contact or OrangeSoda also can pull those campaigns into the dashboard. Shannon Parker, director of product marketing for Yahoo Small Business, said Yahoo plans to add a few more vendors to the mix.

Website analytics tools let SMBs see key website performance metrics, including Google Analytics results.

The destination also includes news and advice from the recently launched Yahoo Small Business Advisor content site and 24/7 free customer support.

"Having all this information in one dashboard, consolidated and presented in a clear way, makes it easier for the small business owner to see trends," Parker said.

Users do not need to be customers of Yahoo Web Hosting or Yahoo Merchant Solutions, but those who are can view web traffic metrics for their stores, online orders, revenue and website traffic within the dashboard.

Customers can upgrade to Local Visibility Pro for automatic submission to search engines and directories, as well as Reputation Management Pro.

SMBs represent a lucrative opportunity for web media companies. In August 2011, BIA/ Kelsey said By 2015, SMBs will allocate 70 percent of their marketing budgets to digital/online media, including customer retention business solutions.

Yahoo rival Google also aims to expand its SMB business via YouTube. It recently introduced AdWords for Video, hoping smaller marketers will adopt it as part of the online arsenal. Advertisers are charged only for true impressions, and can use tools to track and monitor engagement with video advertising.

To kickstart usage, Google is offering new AdWords users a $75 ad credit, and it's published the YouTube Advertiser Playbook with tips for creating and marketing via video.

Google also continued its efforts to spark mobile advertising with the release earlier this month of its Mobile Playbook, backed up by a webcast.

"There's real pent-up demand that's now being met, and that's why you're seeing a lot of activity, new players and new services," Byun said.

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Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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