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5 PPC Strategies to Prepare for Microhoo

August 18th, 2009 No comments

If you live under a rock you might not be aware, but more than likely you have heard that Microsoft and Yahoo have come to terms on a ten year search deal. The most relevant points for paid search engine marketing managers are these:

  • Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic/paid search platform for Yahoo.
  • Yahoo will be the exclusive seller of both companies’ premium advertisers while self-serve advertising will be fulfilled by Microsoft’s AdCenter.
  • The latest timeline I’ve seen suggests that paid Microsoft/Bing results will being appearing on Yahoo in early 2011 in major markets with the goal of all results by early 2012.

While it might be tempting to forget all about Yahoo’s switch to Microsoft paid search results, after all you have until early 2011 (that’s like a year away!), I would definitely encourage search engine marketers to start laying the groundwork now to manage risk in the switchover and get ahead of the competition.

  1. Start a MSN AdCenter account. If you haven’t already, get your ppc campaigns up and running on Bing/Microsoft. They are garnering more search query share (~9% in July 2009) so search engine marketers should be advertising on Bing just to get the incremental revenue from another search engine anyway at this point. And eventually, you’re going to need an account there when Yahoo stops showing your ppc ads. If there’s any hiccups in transferring over Yahoo campaigns when the switch is made, it won’t matter to you as you’ll already have all those campaigns running on MSN. Bonus, you’ll have historical MSN data to compare to before the switchover, that plus your historical Yahoo data will tell you what your new MSN with Yahoo performance should be if all is working well after the switch.
  2. Start getting regular reports out of Yahoo. Data is one of the most valuable assets a search engine marketer can have and who knows what will happen to yours when Yahoo ceases to operate their sponsored search platform. Pull regular monthly reports and store them if you haven’t been doing regular reports. When the switchover occurs, you’ll be armed with historical data to compare how well your Microsoft listings on Yahoo are performing versus your old Yahoo listings. You can also identify any year over year losses or softness and focus on improving those areas. This is all about mitigating risk and keeping your paid search engine marketing campaign performance as good as ever.
  3. Get familiar with MSN’s interface and reports. I am sure in the coming year changes and enhancements will be made, but MSN’s AdCenter is a different beast than Yahoo or Google’s paid search platforms. Spend some time learning how it works, you’ll have an advantage over everyone scrambling to learn when the switchover is made.
  4. Try to get an account manager at MSN. If your spend is in the thousands, try to get an account manager at MSN. Sometimes there’s no substitute for a real person when issues arise. If you start now, by 2011 you will have built a rapport with your account contact and they’ll be ready to help with any transition issues that arise when Yahoo changes over.
  5. Don’t procrastinate. I know, I know, 2011 seems like ages from now. But think about how busy you are with just day to day search engine marketing tasks and if you spend just a little time each week pulling some Yahoo reports and getting your account up on MSN, you’ll be happy you had a year to get it all done. Trust me, its going to suck if you wait until the last minute.

Do you have other suggestions on preparing for the Yahoo-MSN switchover? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment!