And so…it begins!  Yahoo has already started to serve up Bing’s organic results for some searches, and now the time has come for Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter to combine their paid search services and results as well.  Beginning in October 2010, Yahoo will begin walking advertisers through the step-by-step process of moving their campaigns to Microsoft adCenter, which will become the default platform for creating and maintaining paid ads on both Yahoo and Bing.  So what do you need to know in order to hit the ground running with your PPC campaigns once the Yahoo/ Bing Merger takes full effect?  Below are tips and ideas:

If You are Currently Advertising on Yahoo and/or Bing:

  • Become familiar with the Microsoft adCenter interface (if you are only using Yahoo Search Marketing).  As previously mentioned, adCenter will become the default PPC maintenance platform, so being well-versed in using it will help the transition go more smoothly.
  • Download the Microsoft adCenter Desktop.  It’s free, and it makes large scale and on-the-fly campaign adjustments much easier.  If you are familiar with using the Adwords Editor for Google, Microsoft adCenter Desktop should be fairly simple to pick up.  Considering that there may need to be significant changes made to your Yahoo accounts once they are imported to Microsoft, having this tool can really come in handy.
  • Adjust your Yahoo ad titles so that they meet Bing’s ad text guidelines.  Yahoo allows 40 characters in the headline of their PPC ads; Bing only allows 25 characters.
  • Once the merger takes effect on paid search accounts, Yahoo advertisers will see some increased campaign options that weren’t previously available with Yahoo Search Marketing:
    • The ability to block domains or opt out of the new Yahoo/ Bing content network
    • Expansion of negative keyword limitations
    • Enhanced campaign targeting options, including region, gender, age, etc.

If You are Not Currently Advertising on Yahoo and/or Bing:

  • Start Now!  Well, on Microsoft adCenter that is. Create an account and become familiar with adCenter’s interface and features (see the first bullet point above).
  • If you aren’t currently advertising on Yahoo at this point, don’t start.  Save yourself time and just create an account in Microsoft adCenter.

From a search marketing standpoint, there is alot of debate going on as to whether or not the Yahoo/ Bing merger is going to be good or bad for advertisers and businesses.  I, for one, think the merger is a move in the right direction.  Managing hundreds of campaigns and ad groups, thousands of keywords, daily budgets, bids, etc. across three separate accounts is a time consuming task, to say the least.  Cutting that work load up to 33% is something I think any search marketer and online advertiser will welcome.  Additionally, I believe the Yahoo/ Bing merger will provide paid search advertisers a legitimate alternative to Google Adwords by effectively combing two search markets that were previously fragmented. For those advertisers who have relied solely on Adwords for their paid search for various reasons, the merger will present a tempting opportunity to diversify their online marketing channels.

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