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Get Your adCenter Search Marketing Campaign in Shape for 2012

Rob Wilk
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With the start of the new year, now is the perfect time to dive into Microsoft’s adCenter platform and add some muscle to your Yahoo Search and Bing search marketing campaigns. Here are some of the most popular tips that emerged from a series of search advertiser workshops hosted by Yahoo over the past year.

Combined with the enhanced features and capabilities recently released by Microsoft, search advertisers employing these tips will find it easier than ever to get their accounts in shape for what’s expected to be a big year for paid search.

Get Your Ads to Serve More Often

To receive preference in adCenter auctions, which use click through rates (CTRs), minimum bids, and landing-page relevance thresholds when serving ads, advertisers should:

  • Bid more than the $0.05 minimum for search terms with low volume to ensure participation as it typically costs more to show up on the search engine results page (SERP).
  • Ensure that landing pages are directly relevant to the user query and keyword by using keyword-level URLs and placing “{param1}” in the ad’s destination URL.
  • Target main-line positions where click share in some marketplaces can be higher than 90 percent (based on internal Yahoo data for the retail marketplace) and CTRs tend to be higher for these premium positions.
  • Leverage the new data now available in performance reports to identify impressions lost to depleted budget, low ad rankings, and other factors.

Don’t Ignore Quality Score

AdCenter’s quality score is a representation of how your ad is performing against expectations and although it doesn’t directly affect pricing or ranking, a single keyword relevance score can affect that of the keywords around it. Aggregate quality scores are now exposed in reporting, making it easier to identify low-performing ad groups. Take advantage of this feature with these practical and scalable recommendations:

  • Avoid launching new terms in ad groups and campaigns with high volume keywords that have a quality score less than five. Instead, put these, along with low volume keywords, in separate campaigns.
  • Bid explicitly by match type and apply exact negative keywords to optimize broad and phrase match, and avoid unintentional impacts on exact match scores and performance.
  • Train your bid management tools after adCenter has collected enough impressions to rank and price correctly. This is usually within a 90-day period, but for higher volume terms that time period can be ever faster.

Customize Your Ad Copy

While it’s well-known that using ads that are relevant to a search query will get you better results, you may need to refine your tactics when using adCenter. For example, if you want to insert a keyword exactly as it exists in your account directly into an ad title, text, or display URL, you can use “{keyword}” as a place holder. However, it’s important to keep in mind that:

  • If you don’t include default text within these brackets (i.e., {keyword:default}), and the keyword is over 25 characters, your ad won't serve.
  • If you use this kind of dynamic keyword insertion, you run the risk of serving less than perfect-looking ads with lower case titles and odd grammar unless all of your keywords are capitalized and spelled correctly in your account.
  • By using the “Param2” or “Param3” as alternative text for keywords, you can control how your ads appear. Simply insert “{param2:default}” as a placeholder in your ad copy, and create custom alternative text to keywords in those ad groups.

At the same time, remember that ad customization goes beyond simple ad text, making sure that you're creating separate campaigns to target mobile phones and tablets to deliver the right messages to users no matter where they are searching.

If you haven’t worked in your adCenter account recently, you should check out the redesigned user interface and upgraded adCenter Desktop tool. With streamlined dashboards and processes, search marketers will be able to apply these tips without breaking a sweat.


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