The Microsoft-Yahoo Search Alliance that began in 2009 is coming to the end of its full roll-out in the UK, Ireland, and France. The Search Alliance started a few years ago with Microsoft’s Bing powering Yahoo search and transitioning the advertising activity on each search platform to Microsoft’s adCenter. The transition has been smooth, but has taken considerable time to manage all the moving parts of such a transition for large companies and the synchronization of behavior and function for all the current adCenter users.

Now users of Yahoo Search will begin seeing ads on the SERPs from the Microsoft adCenter during this coming week.  The two companies are recommending advertisers still operating on Yahoo’s ad platform in the three countries to begin using adCenter to manage their ad accounts and campaigns as Yahoo Search Marketing will become read-only status soon. The transition beings on April 18 and will run to the end of the month when 100% of Yahoo traffic will be open for advertising through adCenter. Marketers using these platforms should obviously be proactive in their transition, but also other marketers should take this opportunity to evaluate the platform for its features and potential usefulness to their marketing goals. This is especially true for these markets as well as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where the transition will be occurring later this year.

It is best for marketers operating in these markets to express to the SEO companies they are partnered with to evaluate the utility in this platform. For those using Yahoo Search and transitioning over, the adCenter blog issues several key recommendations:

  • During the transition, marketers will see clicks and impressions in their adCenter account increase and alongside a decrease in them with in the Yahoo Search Marketing account. As such, AdCenter recommends tracking both accounts so as not to lose out on potential clicks.
  • Traffic will increase once Yahoo Search comes to adCenter after April 18, and it is recommended to increase the budget made available in the account to the amount previously spent on the two platforms. This is straightforward advice and makes simple sense for marketers.
  • The companies recommend marketers to also increase their keyword bidding in order to prepare the expected competition increases form new advertisers that will be coming onto the platform. Similarly, they recommend bidding across match types and using negative keywords to aid in making your impressions relevant and consistent.
  • Small businesses have additional resources here that can help them transition.

For more information on paid search, how it can improve your business’ online presence, or how it can be utilized along with SEO to implement a coordinated internet marketing strategy, reach out to us here on our contact page.

Microsoft Advertising adcenter is evolving, and the latest changes move the platform closer to Google Adwords in an effort to make terminology and functionality similar to what marketers are using with Google. Ultimately, this is a good move for Microsoft, paid search, and those marketers managing pay per click campaigns and it shows that Microsoft is realistic in their understanding of adcenter’s place in paid search. The reality is that Microsoft’s advertising platform is second to Google’s Adwords, and acknowledging this allows Microsoft to use this fact to their advantage.

Aligning their functionality to that of the industry standard (Google Adwords) allows marketers to utilize both platforms without the need to learn new methodologies and applications. However, once familiarity and a degree of comfort are achieved by its users, Microsoft, in time, can introduce new features that differentiate it from Adwords in an effort to widen their offerings and slowly gain market share.  Microsoft has nothing to lose aligning their methods to Adwords at the moment as differentiation can happen in time.

What Exactly Has Changed?
We’ve discussed the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance and the adcenter before as Todd Bailey touched on its formation and the rolling out of the platform in the UK, France, and Ireland in an piece from mid-January. Now, individual targeting options take the form of “language” and “target location” and the distribution channel “market” is being removed. Tina Kelleher in her adcenter blog post outlining the changes (complete with screenshots of the new features), details that marketers can receive a greater amount of relevant volume from the target location option that is now standard.

Marketers will be able to target users in a physical location as well as those that have intent to “do business in your target location areas.” This intent element widens the advertising opportunities but also allows for more focused pairings of pay per click with SEO campaigns that optimize on and off-site content to drive targeted traffic.

Those that have intent to do business in your target location area show it by the location detail they enter into their queries. Optimized content utilizing international SEO practices then become a central issue here. Further, marketers can choose all the countries where the selected language is spoken, “bundles” of countries, one specific country, and a certain state, territory, or city. Partnering with an SEO company to design a coordinated marketing effort that capitalizes on organic search of these queries as well presents additional opportunities. Doing so enables advertising companies to maximize their targeting goals.