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How to Transition your Yahoo PPC Account to MSN adCenter

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Now that Bing has taken over Yahoo's organic SERPs, MSN adCenter will soon replace Yahoo Search Marketing for PPC. Even those who paid attention to the Search Alliance transition had a plethora of questions that weren't answered by the corporations' "help" documents. The FAQs, although trying to cover everything, obviously created more questions than they answered.

Today, we'll answer some questions that should ease the transition from Yahoo to adCenter for PPC advertisers.

Question: I have a Google AdWords account but was thinking of starting to advertise on Yahoo. Should I still set up a Yahoo PPC account?

Answer: No. Though there have been many dates floating around for months now, the most current data suggests that Yahoo/MSN hope to have everything turned over to the adCenter platform beginning as early as October 11.

Instead, focus on starting an MSN adCenter account and either importing your AdWords data or start directly building your account in MSN. If the signals given by the engines are correct, then in the next few weeks you'll start getting Yahoo (as well as MSN) traffic through this system. It will likely save you time and endless billing hassles.

Q: I have a Yahoo PPC account but not an MSN AdCenter account. Now what?

A: If you have a YSM account, then sometime in August you started to see a screen like this when you logged in:

Bing/Yahoo: Get Ready

Super helpful, right? Essentially, at this stage you need to create an MSN adCenter account by clicking the Sign Up button.

Once you sign up and create your basic account, you're going to want to get your PPC data into the account. You can import your Google AdWords account, your YSM account, or create new MSN account data from scratch.

If you choose to import your Yahoo info, then once your MSN adCenter account is set up and running, this next section is for you:

Q: I have both a Yahoo Search Marketing Account and an MSN AdCenter account. How should I transition my account over?

A: Make sure you're logged out of your MSN account. Log in to your YSM PPC account. If you're eligible to transition your account to MSN, you should see these options at the bottom of the AdCenter tab in Yahoo.

Select your desired options and click on Get Started.

adCenter Get Started

Click on Continue to AdCenter.

Go to adCenter

You should then be able to sign in using your MSN AdCenter User/Pass:

Sign in to adCenter

After signing in, your interface will switch to the MSN AdCenter transition wizard. It will take a few minutes (depending on the size of your Yahoo account) to pull your Yahoo data over and begin checking for compatibility.

Once it scans your entire account you should see a pop-up that shows you what your "Compatibility alerts" are with the data you're trying to import. Yahoo and MSN have different settings and account restrictions and this seeks to take care of that for you. These will include length of ads, minimum bids, geo-targeting settings, etc.

adCenter Compatibility Alerts

Once all your compatibility discrepancies are found, you'll be given three options (for the purpose of this walkthrough, we'll only cover the first option; the others should be self-explanatory). Choose to fix your compatibility issues, then select Continue.

Import Yahoo account and campaign data

After fixing whatever issues there might be, you will come to a new screen that is a bit misleading. It looks like this screen would allow you to finalize your transfer from Yahoo to MSN, but in every account I performed this on the Continue button was grayed out and I could get no further. A representative at Microsoft told me that as long as there was a green checkbox next to an account name that said "Migrated" then you were all done.

Transfer YSM Account to adCenter

Q: How do I verify that my account is properly transferred from Yahoo to MSN?

A: If a green checkmark on a semi-broken thank you page isn't reassuring enough for you, here's what else Microsoft told me:

"The two ways in which you can see that Yahoo Account has been linked to an adCenter Account is either by viewing the Campaigns in adCenter, or by viewing the migration page in Yahoo. If, in Yahoo, there is a green checkmark next to the Account name (and the continue button has been grayed out) it has been linked to an adCenter Account."

Q: Will my prepaid Yahoo budgets transfer to MSN? What if the accounts aren't linked?

A: If you've linked your Yahoo and adCenter accounts and can verify by the above methods then any of the remaining prepaid balance from Yahoo Search Marketing will be automatically applied to your MSN adCenter account by the end of December, early January.

If you haven't linked your accounts and you're not planning on it (I have several clients that fall into this category) then Yahoo supposedly will return the prepaid balance to the credit card on file. If that credit card is expired or no longer in use when the budget is returned, then they will return any unused funds to the account holder in the form of a check.

Hopefully this helped simplify things for you. If you liked this walk-through and would like to see more guides, then let me know in the comments. Additionally, if you need more help or clarification or just want to share your transition stories then the comments would be a great place for that too!

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