Yahoo! and Microsoft Need Love Too

August 7th, 2012 by Miranda Rutkowski

On June 12, 2012 JumpFly was invited to participate in Chicago’s first Yahoo! Search & Bing Advertiser Forum and I was lucky enough to be able to venture downtown to participate.
This was an amazing event that allowed attendees to not only get a sneak peek into planned enhancements, but to also provide valuable feedback to the development teams about how the products are used daily in our paid search centered lives.

Chicago Advertiser Forum

Since the Search Alliance was formed between Yahoo! and Microsoft in early 2010, we have seen tremendous growth and success for our clients advertising on these platforms.  However, when the systems and support staff of two major companies merge, there are bound to be some hiccups and growing pains.  Thankfully both Yahoo! and Microsoft are fully committed to providing the best experience for agencies, direct advertisers and people doing the searching.  This commitment was solidified by the extremely in-depth, Yahoo and Microsoft moderated, roundtable discussion period.  During this time, three of the eight people at our table were representatives of the Search Alliance, with one being a dedicated note-taker for the group.

Within the roundtable discussion, we were encouraged to provide as much positive and negative feedback as possible.  It was extremely refreshing to have the captive ear of people who could actually do something with our gripes and suggestions.  Our table definitely gave our moderators what they were looking for, and then some.  There was some great feedback provided to the Search Alliance that I am confident will be taken back to their Product Managers, Engineers and Directors.

Not only did we provide valuable product input, we were also informed about enhancements that will be coming with future updates to the AdCenter platform and the programming that takes place behind the scenes.  These enhancements will help JumpFly manage paid search accounts in Yahoo! and Bing more efficiently and effectively. **Spoiler Alert:  There will be an MCC-type management platform coming soon and they are diligently working on increased data transparency and improved API functionality.  We also learned about the MAI (Microsoft Advertising Intelligence) Tool.  This is a powerful Excel extension for effective keyword research using Yahoo! and Bing data as opposed to Google’s Keyword Tool.  If you are advertising on the Search Alliance network and haven’t used this little gem, I strongly suggest giving it a whirl.  I know you will be happy with the quality of keywords it provides.

Another new feature we were given a sneak peek of is Yahoo Axis – the new search-oriented browser add-on and iOS app. With the browser version of Axis, when a user types in a search query they aren’t taken to a traditional SERP page, but rather a social portal that shows them whether their Twitter followers and/or Facebook friends are talking about what they need to know about.  If you have an iOS device, the experience is even cooler.  You can browse on your desktop, save your results and pick up right where you left off on your iPhone and/or iPad.  Very cool social search smashup that doesn’t have ads yet, but has the potential to be a great enhancement for paid search opportunities in the not so distant future.  Take a look at Axis, give it a whirl and see if your friends are talking about what interests you.

In conclusion, the Yahoo! and Bing Search Alliance is bringing us some pretty amazing innovations in the next few quarters.  I am truly excited to see how they implement the changes that were suggested at the Advertiser Forum.

A New Reason to Advertise on Bing

December 12th, 2011 by Miranda Rutkowski

Bing Xbox 360Most businesses begin advertising online with Google AdWords because it provides a straightforward way to use  pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to attract more potential customers to their website. According to a new report by ZenithOptimedia, 44% of global online advertisers choose to advertise on Google as opposed to only 4% on MSN and  8.3% on Yahoo!  However, I have a feeling that this dynamic might be changing in the not-so-distant future.

On December 4, 2011, Microsoft hit the tech community with an exciting announcement that Xbox Live will now support voice searches on the MSN/Yahoo search engine www.Bing.com.  Consumers who own an Xbox 360 have recently seen a software update for their gaming console.  Additionally, those who also enjoy the Microsoft Kinect accessory will now be able to take advantage of the Kinect voice recognition capabilities to perform spoken searches on Bing through their Xbox 360 console.  According to Microsoft, this new feature is the next step in the evolution of television and entertainment.  They are hoping to be the frontrunners of this new era of entertainment by bringing games, movies, television shows, music, sports and the internet together in one place.

So what does this mean for the 87.7% of global online advertisers who are NOT advertising on Bing?  It means that they might want to think about allocating some of their PPC budget to Bing.  Migrating Google AdWords accounts to the MSN/Yahoo! platform can be a tricky task because the platforms tend to not play nicely together.  There are many nuances that make straight Google to Bing migration difficult for people who don’t do it regularly.  So, if this is something you are interested in doing with your AdWords campaigns, please consult a professional before you attempt it yourself.

It will be interesting to see how this Bing voice search functionality will evolve.  I am excited to see whether Bing will allow advertisers to build voice search PPC campaigns or whether voice search data can be analyzed separate for traditional type and click data.  There are so many possibilities and so much potential for this new functionality.  I can’t wait to see what the future brings.  Only time will tell – so stay tuned!

Yahoo and MSN and a Billing Nightmare

October 21st, 2010 by Nikki Kuhlman

Yahoo and MSN are in the midst of their big merge, and from a PPC standpoint, it’s really quite business as usual. Until you get the billing end of it and then it’s a nightmare.

MSN is supplying the results of the search, but Yahoo is handling all the billing. What that means is that all charges will come from Yahoo on your credit card statement, not from MSN. On its own, that’s confusing enough – I’ve had quite a few confused emails from my clients who wonder, if Yahoo is “going away” why are they still getting charges from them? But the nightmare end of it is what’s happening on those client’s credit cards – multiple, crazy billing charges.

Yahoo billed on a prepay plan (money in an account which click charges were taken from, like a checking account). MSN billed on a post-pay plan (accrue the charges, then MSN would charge you for them later, like Google AdWords). And that’s where the craziness is coming in – Yahoo is switching all these clients from post to prepay, and charging clients to build up their account so they have money to withdraw from.

One client I have was billed $1 on 10/1 and $25 on the 3rd, 7th, 11th, 14th and 17th. And I’m sure they’ll be hit again on the 21st.

A bigger mess is what happened to the client I heard from yesterday. They were billed $500, $400 and 13 times for $25 on 10/18. And yesterday they were billed another $600. That’s $1825 in two days.

The charges are legitimate, but the large amounts charged so fast are difficult for some to afford. Plus the $25 is such a low number and so many times.

While poking around in MSN, I was able to find a setting on the account details page for the Auto Recharge Amount. Looks like the default setting is $25. You are able to change that to whatever you would like. Why they picked $25, I don’t know. Why they didn’t require the client to select that amount, again, I don’t know.

We’re also having issues with clients where we’re unable to enter a billing credit card. Doesn’t seem to matter what we do, the card just won’t go in. It’s not that the card is declined, it’s just technically able to be entered successfully.

I am hoping that this merger will prove beneficial to my clients, but the confusion and amount of time being spent on fixing crazy issues is definitely beneficial to noone. Thankfully, the customer support is coming from Yahoo, which I’m grateful for. We have a fantastic dedicated Yahoo rep named Lynda who is doing her best in a really crazy situation. We’re talking to her multiple times a day with all these issues, and she’s really going to bat for our clients. I’m sure it will turn out okay, but for now, what a mess.