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January 18, 2007

Yahoo Panama Workshops

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Guest Entry by Nick Guastella, Search Engine Marketing Analyst–Bruce Clay, Inc.

Yesterday, I attended the invitation-only Yahoo Sponsored Search Upgrade Workshop at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles for the newly released Panama system. Upon arrival, participants were presented with names tags, Yahoo journals, Swissmemory portable computer storage, and most importantly, a full copy of the presentation.

The presentation covered (in no particular order):

  • Geo-Targeting
  • Forecasting
  • Fast Ad Activation
  • Bidding in the New System
  • Ad Testing and Optimization
  • New Reports
  • Campaign Budgeting and Scheduling
  • Content Match

One piece of interesting information provided about the new ad testing feature was that while Yahoo’s new system currently allows for A/B testing, it cannot provide tracking information back to a specific ad and requires use of a third party system.

When questioned about this by several participants, the logic given was that in the end it was the keywords that convert, not the ads, so it was more important to test for an ad that received high clicks. The panelists also stated that it was rare for an ad with a lower click-thru rate to convert better than one with a higher CTR.

I know from experience that ads that have lower CTRs often do convert better than ones with a higher CTR. In fact, I often see ads I manage with lower CTRs converting very well and with a lower cost. Perhaps this was just an "oops" on Yahoo’s part or they didn’t have time to integrate the feature in their rush to roll it out.

Overall, the new system definitely is a big improvement over the old one with all the new flexibilities added. It could also prompt users from Google to give Yahoo a try now that the ad systems are so similar and Yahoo allows for an easy migration of an existing Google campaign. As with any new system, the biggest hurdle will be one of familiarity. However, once people adjust to the new system they should be able to do very well.

Until then, I’ll be reading the manual provided since it is a better teaching tool than the workshop was.

Though the workshop was intended to be an in-depth review of the enhancements and new features of the Yahoo Panama platform, it was actually more akin to an unorganized panel presentation. Instead of following the presentation material, the various speakers skipped about making it hard for anyone following along with the accompanying materials provided to keep up.

The presentation was continually interrupted by questions from the audience, which bogged down the presentation and frustrated the participants. Each successive break taken saw the crowd dwindle as people left in frustration. Of the five Yahoo members, only one person was actually a trainer. Disappointingly, this individual was not given the reigns of the presentation or any speaking time. The end of the presentation was rushed due to running over time and was simply a "Why Do You Use Yahoo?" question and answer for the audience.

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3 responses to “Yahoo Panama Workshops”

  1. John M. writes:

    I was actually at the afternoon session of this workshop. Was pretty informative. It was noted by the panelists that changes to the presentation were made due to the morning session being unorganized. Some questions were off topic as too be expected, but all in all good information for those new to the system.

  2. AJ writes:

    I had also been invited to attend the Yahoo! training seminar in Hollywood, and after contemplating the possibilities, I went ahead and registered. Was really looking forward to it, too. If nothing else, perhaps might meet a few cool new people. You never know…
    Then I caught a common cold that put me down for three days. And I never get sick! So I could make the event. I was really disappointed to have missed the proceedings, though I feel a little better about it now after having read your quick capsule summary… Doesn’t sound like I missed much.
    Thanx for sharing your experience. Did you learn anything new and useful? Had you not attended, do you feel that you’d now be at a disadvantage with Yahoo!’s new search marketing system?

  3. Link Directory Rx writes:

    With the implementation of Panama on Yahoo! small business will have to look to other sources for visibility, like text links, social bookmarking and directories.



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