Yahoo-Bing Integration: The Transition Checklist

I’m amazed by how many search engine marketers still haven’t opened up their adCenter accounts. With the Microsoft adCenter system powering Yahoo in the fall 2010 through the holiday season, any search marketer taking his campaigns seriously must get set up for the transition ASAP. Starting this week, you can make choices with regard to:

  1. Opening a new adCenter account (my preference) and creating an account from scratch, or importing a Google AdWords campaign over.
  2. Linking an existing (or new) adCenter account to an existing Yahoo DTC/Panama account.

While you can choose to have your Yahoo Panama account converted to a Microsoft adCenter campaign, the lack of three match types in Yahoo might make this more work than a new account with a Google import. One way to determine how much work you might have to do in transitioning a Yahoo campaign (assuming you even want to consider going that route), would be to pull an Account Compatibility Report from within Yahoo’s DTC/Panama interface. It won’t catch everything but will give you an idea of how much manual homework you’ll have to do.

For example, I have two personal Yahoo Panama accounts for my wife’s businesses (and for experiments within Yahoo). One account had been paused and dormant for a couple of years and, when I logged in, this one had no compatibility report available. But the active campaign had a compatibility report that flagged several issues that you may share. For example, you might see the following messages:

  1. “This attribute will not be imported into adCenter. In adCenter, the concept of Alt text more accurately corresponds to {Param2}.” This message refers to my use of Yahoo’s flavor of dynamic keyword insertion (DKI).
  2. “Geo-targeting, Network Distribution, Demographic Bidding, and Ad Scheduling will not be transitioned to adCenter.” You must set these up in your adCenter account.
  3. “Ads with more than 25 characters in the title will be truncated and paused.” This message refers to some old ad creative units that had been paused and so I never edited them down to the new industry standard.

The account I used to test compatibility was by no means large or complex and yet some significant manual interventions were required. However, the alternative of importing a campaign from Google AdWords requires compatibility homework in similar areas such as DKI and targeting issues.

Microsoft’s brand identity crisis: As a side-note, it’s fascinating to watch Microsoft struggle with the brand identity issue. For consumers, the search brand is Bing, so in many cases the messaging around the transition has Bing/Yahoo joint branding, but in other cases, such as messaging to the ad community, the branding is mixed. For example, here are URLs of resource pages referenced in a recent communications from Yahoo and Microsoft:

 

Most people wouldn’t notice the challenges and inconsistencies in naming the Microsoft brands and platforms, but my recommendation would be to let the user/consumer decide what to call it.

The industry calls the two platforms AdWords (for Google) and adCenter (for Microsoft). Gluing all sorts of conditional identifiers in front of either product is an exercise in futility. Like Federal Express (which changed its name based on what customers called them) and Chevrolet (which allegedly decided internally to abandon the Chevy brand before getting outed by the press), Microsoft should simplify its messaging and branding. Microsoft needs only to have adCenter (for advertisers) and pubCenter (for publishers) and whatever consumer-facing brands it wants to use to display the advertising managed via adCenter.

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