On Monday, Microsoft and Yahoo invited search marketers and vendors to an all-day overview of the upcoming Microsoft-Yahoo Alliance. Here are some of the highlights from the day.
Timeline. Both MS and Y reps assured us that they are on schedule for a full rollout of the Alliance by October. November and December is the "protected holiday period" that is so key to search marketers, and the Alliance is on target to have all US and Canada PPC advertisers moved over to the shared platform by October. API migration will also be complete by then.
Interface improvements. Advertisers have shared their wish lists for both Yahoo and MSN's web UIs for a while now, and the two engines have definitely heard the feedback. Some of the enhancements PPC advertisers can look forward to are:
- Negative keyword expansion beyond 1026 characters
- Negative keywords at ad group or campaign level
- Campaign performance dashboards
- Web import options of any format - Google, Yahoo, or MSN
- Significant upgrades to the adCenter Desktop tool
- Search network controls - can choose just owned & operated properties, or search partners
- Reporting upgrades, including removal of the 92-day time limit
- Enhanced conversion tracking options, including revenue tracking
Team members also clarified roles for Yahoo and Microsoft under the Alliance:
- Primary lead for all transition-related activities
- Assist with budgeting and account structure to help you prepare
- Creation of new accounts and IOs as transition approaches
- Strategic insights for ad copy, optimization, match type selection, etc.
- Post transition account optimization
- Microsoft Optimization resource on adCenter accounts leading up to transition
- Transition resource for the Y account manager
- Continue to support display advertising
All in all, it sounds like things are progressing on schedule, and the process is well thought out - great news for advertisers!
Postscript: I've received clarification from Yahoo on the timing of the switchover. They said, "Our primary focus is to provide advertisers with a quality transition experience while protecting the all important holiday season. If we don't believe we can do both in that timeframe, we will wait until 2011."