What’s Up With Bing Ads?

Frequent readers of this blog, along with my friends on Twitter, know that I have a love/hate relationship with Bing Ads, formerly known as Microsoft adCenter.  I’ve heaped ample praise on them at times – recently, in fact.  I’ve also been quick to applaud their community reps’ involvement on Twitter.

But as many of my online PPC friends can tell you, there are plenty of frustrations with them, too.

In fact, one of the things I kind of hate is that they can’t settle on a name for their product!  They went from Microsoft Search Featured Sites, which I participated in during another lifetime, to MSN Search, to adCenter, and now to Bing Ads.  To read more about the latest incarnation, check out this Search Engine Watch article.

During each incarnation, Google Adwords has been Google Adwords – no rebrand needed.

So why can’t Microsoft make up their mind on a brand?  It’s a mystery to me.

Let’s talk about the new Bing Ads for a minute.  It’s getting a lot of press, even meriting a writeup in Forbes, of all things (although their article is pretty lame).

The new Bing Ads has several improvements, earning praise from me:

  • Both the interface and the new Bing Ads Editor have a clean, easy-to-use feel.  With every relaunch, Bing gets closer to Google Adwords, which is what many of us have asked for all along!  Tabs, features, and common tasks are all where you’d expect them to be in the new release.  That’s great, and it saves time.
  • Bing is finally moving towards using “normal” keyword-level destination URLs, instead of those confusing Param1 parameters!  Actually, the parameters were one feature that Microsoft has had for a long time that Google lacks – but it was so confusing that few advertisers took advantage of it.  Now, it’ll be easier to understand.
  • “Import from Google Adwords” functionality built right into the interface.  Imports were already easy with the Desktop tool, but now you can import from the online UI, too!

Bing Import from Adwords

These improvements are welcome, to be sure.  But of course, with the good comes the bad:

  • The online UI times out too fast.  I’ve noticed it timing out in as little as 30 minutes, whereas in the old UI, I could stay logged in nearly all day without it timing out.  Also, there’s a bug in the new UI that logs you out if you click on the “Home” tab.  More on this in a few.
  • Both the online UI and the Desktop/Editor tool are still slow, especially on first load.  The Editor tool takes probably 20 seconds to open the first time, although once it’s open, tasks load quickly.  Still, it’s frustrating to sit there and wait 20 seconds just to look at one keyword, or budget, or bid.
  • The Editor tool, while improved over previous versions, still has weird error messages and quirks.  Copying an ad still returns an error.  And making changes to said ad without tabbing to another field results in the loss of all the changes you just made.  Not good.

Now for a rant.  Brace yourselves.

What the heck has happened to Bing Ads support?!?  As I mentioned earlier, great support was one of the huge positives about using the old adCenter.  They were active on Twitter, they responded quickly, and they generally seemed to care.

Since the release of Bing Ads, things have changed.  Take a look at their Twitter feed now:

Bing Ads Twitter

It’s all just the party line – more like a typical corporate “content pushing” Twitter account than an interactive, “we care about our customers and are here to support them” Twitter account.

In fact, I tweeted to them about the Home link issue I mentioned earlier, and the response I got was “Sorry, we can’t troubleshoot via Twitter – please contact support.” Boo!

I didn’t contact support.  And I’ll tell you why.

About 6 weeks ago, I had several problems with the old Desktop tool:  issues with spreadsheet imports, duplicate ad errors, and other problems.  I contacted support, and they were very responsive.

Too responsive, in fact.

The interaction began with the rep asking me to send screen shots of the errors I was seeing.  OK, I can understand that – once.

But it didn’t stop there.  Not only did the rep ask me to take additional screen shots of nearly every action I was taking in Desktop, they also wanted me to:

  • Uninstall and reinstall Desktop (an hour-long process, at least)
  • Remove and re-add all of our clients
  • Run an error diagnostic process and send them the resultant export file

I mean, come on.  Really?  I appreciate their efforts in fixing the issues, but I felt like I was the technician here.  Why should I have to create umpteen screen shots and run diagnostics?  Maybe this would make sense if I was the only person with this issue, but I can’t imagine that’s even possible, given all the comments I’ve heard on Twitter about Desktop frustrations.

But wait, there’s more. It gets worse.

Not only did I have to do all this work, the adCenter/Bing rep called or emailed me every day.  Every. Day.  Wanting to know if I’d made those screen shots yet. Or if I’d uninstalled and reinstalled.

Seriously?

I don’t hear from my boss this often.  It was like a crazy work assignment.  A work assignment just so I could use a tool that’s supposed to – yes indeed – help me DO MY WORK.

Why, Bing Ads?!?

Why did a simple call to support have to turn into a huge assignment for me?  All I was trying to do was add a few ad groups to Bing Ads – ad groups which have since spent maybe $3 total.  Was that really worth the hours of effort on my part?  Is $3 really worth daily calls and emails from the tech person at Bing Ads?

I know I’m not alone here.  I’ve heard from people who’ve given up on Bing Ads entirely because it’s just not worth all the effort it takes to spend $3.

The frustrating part is, I do like Bing Ads.  We get good results for our clients that use Bing Ads.  I meant everything I said in that SEW post.  I really like their community reps, too – I genuinely do.  But this experience has soured me on Bing Ads again.

What about you?  Do you have a love/hate relationship with Bing Ads?  Or do you just love them or just hate them? How can they improve?  Share in the comments!

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3 Unfulfilled PPC Wishes from 2007

Ah, January: the month when everyone makes resolutions and looks at their holiday wish lists to see what gifts people failed to give them. (C’mon, admit it: we all do this!) In the spirit of gifts not received, I got to thinking about my PPC gift list from 5 years ago, and the gifts I still haven’t gotten after all that time. Here are my top 3.

More traffic and search leadership from MSN/Bing.

Back in early 2007, in the early days of MSN’s PPC program, I found myself wishing that MSN (now Bing) would catch the big guys of search, but wondering if they ever could. In that post, I observed, with chagrin, the fact that “MSN falls down on volume and ease of use. Traffic and order volumes are about 10% of what we get from Google.” The post goes on to say that “I don’t even know which I’d like MSN to address first: increasing volume, or fixing the UI.”

Sound familiar? While the latest release of the adCenter UI is a HUGE improvement, it still leaves a lot to be desired, especially given the fact that adCenter now includes Yahoo traffic. In fact, I think traffic from adCenter might even be lower in 2012 than it was in 2007. There certainly isn’t any increase in market share – which is pathetic given the fact that market share is now Bing and Yahoo combined. It’s sad, really.

Better Adwords query matching.

Match type issues have plagued PPC advertisers from the beginning. Novice PPC’ers make the mistaken assumption that match types actually work the way Google says they do. News flash: they didn’t work that way in 2007, and still don’t in 2012. One merely needs to run a search query report to see all the crazy query matches to exact and phrase match keywords to realize that match types are more of a suggestion for Google, as opposed to an instruction.

I do have to give Google credit for adding modified broad match to the arsenal, though. I’ve had good results with this, and I know others have as well.

More accurate PPC traffic estimates.

Back in 2007, I was an in-house PPC’er, which meant that part of my job was budgeting and forecasting. On a regular basis, I had to estimate how many orders we’d get from PPC, along with traffic, cost, and profit. This was a huge challenge back in 2007, and it’s still a challenge today.

In fact, it can be an even bigger challenge for search agencies. Not only do we need to forecast revenue for the agency, we need to provide forecasts and estimates for clients. And clients often take the estimates as gospel: “Great, we’re going to get 20,000 visits per month from PPC!” In reality, it’s a crap shoot: you might get your 20,000 visits; or you might only get 2,000; or you might get 200,000.

Estimating traffic outside the US, or for geotargeted campaigns, is even more of a joke. To see a nice analysis of just how big a joke it still is, check out this post from PPC Northern Ireland.

In the search world, 5 years is an eternity. Back in 2007, I was writing a lot about Yahoo Panama, click fraud, and garbitrage – all of which are non-factors in the 2012 PPC world. So it’s a bit of a surprise that some things haven’t changed.

Will 2012 bring the gifts of more Bing PPC traffic, better keyword matching, and accurate traffic estimates? Will I be writing this same article in 2017 (God help me)? I guess only time will tell, but I wouldn’t bid high on it.

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Top 3 PPC Stories from Beyond the Paid

Ah, the end of the year: the time when we all sit back and reflect on our accomplishments over the past 12 months. Or not, because most of us are way too busy. But I digress.

In the PPC world, there’s never a dull moment, so I can’t say that 2011 was the most eventful year ever. But there were definitely a few stories worth reviewing as we head into 2012. With that, here are my top 3 stories from 2011 – a la David Letterman.

#3. 10 PPC Experts to Follow on Twitter

Like Letterman, people seem to love “Top 10” lists. I agree that they’re fun – but usually they’re pointless, too. I wanted to create a list of PPC experts that would actually help the community get connected.

#2. Google’s SSL Change: A Bad Deal for PPC

So much has been written about this huge misstep by Google, you’re probably sick of seeing it. But it continues to annoy people, so it bears repeating. This is a bad, bad deal, and I hope 2012 brings the return of our organic search query data in Google Analytics.

And now, for the top story of 2011…..

#1. Microsoft adCenter Ignores Advertiser Feedback

I’m sure some of you think I love to beat up on adCenter, like they’re my favorite punching bag. Not so. There are many things to love about adCenter: quality traffic, helpful reps, features that Adwords lacks, and more. They even have an online suggestion box for advertiser feedback, unlike Google.

This seemed pretty cool to me, so shortly after it launched, I posted the suggestion to give us separate bids for Yahoo and Bing. After all, we PPC’ers are all about transparency and control.

At the time, this suggestion was the top vote-getter by a landslide. But did adCenter take it to heart?

Nope. They shot it down and put it on the “completed” list. So much for advertiser feedback.

What are your top PPC stories from 2011?

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Microsoft adCenter Ignores Advertiser Feedback

As most search marketers know, a few months ago Microsoft adCenter essentially absorbed Yahoo Search Marketing in the US and created the Search Alliance. Before the Alliance went live, advertisers expressed the desire to have the ability to set separate bids for Bing and Yahoo traffic. After all, most of us have experienced widely varying success between the two engines – and it’s not always the same engine that performs better. It depends on the advertiser and the campaign.

Well, we didn’t have the ability to set separate bids in the beginning. OK, fine, we get that there are a lot of technical issues with combining two very different platforms, as well as training the Yahoo staff to work with adCenter (all the adCenter reps were eliminated in the Alliance). We get that not everything can go live in the beginning. We PPC’ers are a patient bunch.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. adCenter does a big push in their blog and on their customer forums, asking advertisers to share their feature requests. Not only did they ask for feature requests, they gave advertisers the ability to vote on the requests. Each individual participant in the request forum was given a total of 25 votes. You could assign 1, 2, or 3 of your votes to any given request – and you could submit your own request for votes. On the surface, this seemed like an innovative way to prioritize customer requests. I was intrigued and excited.

Well, I immediately went in and asked for separate bidding for Yahoo and Bing. People immediately jumped in and added their votes to the request. Then I posted the following on Twitter: “Want separate bids for Yahoo and Bing traffic in adCenter? Vote now!”

Things really went fast after that. Within an hour the separate-bid request had more than twice as many votes as any other request. I was encouraged – while I’d heard rumblings from a few people in the know that indicated we wouldn’t be getting separate bids any time soon, I thought that the show of support from the PPC community would sway things. After all, according to the request site, Microsoft is actually considering making adCenter compatible with Chrome! (By the way, in case you didn’t know, Chrome is a Google product, so this is pretty big.)

Alas, my hopes were dashed early this week, when I received the following response from adCenter:

“We understand that you would like to bid on Bing and Yahoo! sites individually; however, we’ve made the decision to not allow bids on just Bing or just Yahoo! Search at this time. One of our goals is to provide advertisers with the benefit of a combined marketplace through a single platform, creating a competitive alternative in search. Allowing separate bids counteracts that goal. However, there are options you can investigate including the Enhanced Search Network Distribution feature and URL exclusion controls that create separate ad groups for ads that show exclusively on Yahoo! + Bing sites versus our syndicated search partner sites. This allows you to be more specific about where you’d like your ads to display. You can find more information about this and other options in our Search Alliance FAQs and in our Community blog. Thank you for your input. We appreciate it and your business.”

What a load. Nice try, adCenter, but spewing 150 words of PR BS and throwing us the bone of bidding separately for syndicated search is lame at best. Just so you know, adCenter, we didn’t ask for separate bids for Yahoo & Bing vs. search partners – we asked for separate bids for Yahoo and Bing.

What really grinds my gears is the fact that adCenter gave the community a fantastic opportunity to provide feedback and ask for the features we really need to actually start using adCenter more – and then ignored it. It’s clear to me now that they really don’t want our feedback if it’s something that they don’t like for whatever reason. Instead of taking the opportunity to give advertisers a great feature that not even Google has, they chose to give us platitudes.

And why bother asking people to vote if you’re going to reject the top vote getter? That’s like saying “hey Michigan, cast your vote for Governor today! We’re going to pick who we want anyway, but come on out and vote!”

As my kids would say, “FAIL!”

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Microsoft’s AdCenter Continues to Flounder

The Microsoft/Yahoo Search Alliance has been live for a few months now here in the US, and frankly, I’m unimpressed with it. Our Fluency Media clients are not getting nearly as much traffic from adCenter post-Alliance as they were getting with adCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing combined; we’ve ended up spending significantly more with Google just to keep volumes up to their pre-Alliance levels.

Back in October, I expressed concern over traffic quality losses with the launch of the Alliance. Luckily, that hasn’t happened – conversion rates and cost per conversion are nearly the same as what we saw with adCenter, so that’s a positive. But the kudos end there.

Jonathon Hochman wrote a great article for Search Engine Land yesterday about missed opportunities in adCenter, where he outlines a number of billing and customer service issues – all of which we have experienced, as well.

The troubles don’t end there, though. Did you know that if you set your PPC account credit card billing to “auto fill,” it will automatically charge your credit card even when the account is paused? Yep, that happened to us just last week.

Did you know that if you’re using auto-fill, and you experience problems with your credit card (which is not uncommon), adCenter won’t bother to notify you, but will just deactivate your account? And when you resolve the card issues and re-enter your billing information, the account is still inactive and you have to call your adCenter rep to reactivate it? Yes, this is an actual issue that keeps advertisers from spending money with adCenter.

Did you know that if you’re an agency, and you get a new client that wants to use adCenter, you can’t just open a new account yourself under your agency’s umbrella account? Oh no, you’ll need to again call your adCenter rep to do this for you – and wait a week or two for them to call you back, and then another week or two for them to actually do it, and then call them again after you’ve entered your payment info to get them to activate the account, and….. well, you get the picture.

Add all of these issues to a slow, un-intuitive, user-unfriendly online interface and an equally slow and user-unfriendly desktop editor (which, by the way, takes about an hour to download because it has to install Silverlight and SQL and a bunch of other insane peripherals; compared with a 5 minute download for Adwords Editor), and the pathetically low traffic levels, and you end up with virtually no desire to waste your time and effort.

Here’s another example. (Warning: Rant Ahead!) Back in October or so, we received an email from Microsoft about a holiday promotion they were running, offering a certain amount of free clicks for advertisers who set up a new holiday campaign. We were quick to take advantage of this for one of our e-commerce advertisers who does a brisk holiday business. This advertiser was already getting significant traffic on their Adwords holiday campaign, but the CPCs were high – so we jumped at the chance to try adCenter, with their lower CPCs and cost per conversion.

Guess how many clicks we got from adCenter? 10. Yes, 10. I am laughing as I type this – I honestly didn’t think it was possible to get that few clicks on ANY PPC campaign, much less a holiday campaign! I’m not a PPC newbie, as most of you know, and in the 9 years I’ve been doing this I don’t think I’ve ever seen a campaign get that few clicks. What a joke.

Even though the campaign didn’t cost us anything CPC-wise, we spent significant time setting it up. As an agency, we’re paid to work on the client’s behalf, and we pride ourselves on using our time on the most highly-leveraged aspects of their online marketing campaigns. To spend time setting up a campaign, only to see it get 10 clicks, is downright embarrassing.

I find this very sad. I truly like and respect everyone I’ve met from the adCenter team – they’re a conscientious, dedicated group of professionals, and they really do know and understand search. But for whatever reason, adCenter isn’t delivering the goods. It’s a shame, really. To quote Dr. Seuss, “what a shame, what a shame, what a shame shame shame shame!”

Updated at 9:45 a.m. EST:

It looks like adCenter is on everyone’s mind today; check out this post from the good folks at Rimm Kaufman for more on adCenter’s woes.

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Using Dayparting Effectively in PPC, Part 2: Advanced Tactics

In Part 1, we talked about basic dayparting techniques, such as turning off ads during days or hours where results are poor. But what if you don’t want to turn things all the way off?

For instance, let’s say you get some conversions on the weekends – but the conversion rate isn’t as good as it is during the week. Or maybe you get lots of conversions on a Monday, but it’s really competitive, so your CPCs, and therefore your cost per conversion, are higher than you’d like. In these instances, you don’t want to shut off the weekends or Mondays entirely, because you’d lose sales, right? What to do?

This is where bid adjustment comes in. Bid adjustment is a wonderful feature, available in both Google and MSN/Yahoo, that allows you to raise or lower bids on certain days and/or times. With bid adjustment, you can increase or decrease your max CPCs, using a percentage, during days or times that you choose. Here’s a screen shot of the adCenter bid boost screen, found under Campaign Settings.

Let’s take the “weekends aren’t great” example at the beginning of this post. Let’s say your weekend conversions are only worth half what your weekday conversions are worth. Use the bid adjustment feature to set Saturday and Sunday’s bids to 50%. The PPC engine will automatically reduce your CPCs by half. Pretty slick, huh?

As I mentioned in Part 1, when you’re thinking about dayparting, it’s critical to make sure you’re making the right decisions using good data. To make the right decision, you’ll need to look at a large enough set of data. As I mentioned in Part 1, you’ll need at least 100 clicks in each segment to even begin thinking about bid adjustments.

Google makes it easier to get at this data than MSN, at least the day of week data. In Google, just choose Segment by day of week and export the result. However, adCenter’s reporting by hour of the day includes conversion data, while Adwords’ reports by hour do not. (Google is missing the boat on this one, in my opinion!) If your adCenter campaign gets a lot of clicks, you may even want to review conversion data by hour, and then apply that to your Adwords campaigns, as well.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a statistical tool to make sure the difference in results is statistically significant. Even if you just look at conversion rate, check the day or days you’re thinking about eliminating, and compare with the other days. If the difference is significant, then go ahead and adjust your bids. If the difference isn’t significant, don’t do it! Even if you have to set the date range to the past 12 months, it’s worth it to make sure you’re making the right decision. Nothing is worse than reducing bids (and getting less traffic & conversions as a result), only to find out you’ve ended up cutting way into your sales.

When used correctly, dayparting and bid adjustment can really improve campaign performance. Look at your data and give it a try!

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The Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance – Here We Go!

This week, it’s happening – the much-vaunted transition of Yahoo PPC traffic to the Microsoft Adcenter platform and the combination of the two programs. Not since the launch of Yahoo Panama back in early 2007 has there been such a momentous shift in the traditional PPC marketplace.

Yahoo and MSN have done a commendable job of preparing advertisers for the transition. It was announced nearly 18 months ago, and both engines have sent out continual communications and progress reports, using email, social media, in-person events, webinars, and information within the respective user interfaces. I attended the Search Alliance Summit in Seattle back in June, just prior to SMX Advanced. It was just a one-day seminar (and I missed the first half due to travel challenges), but it was jam-packed with useful information. Since then, I’ve received countless communications from both MSN and Yahoo, updating me on the change. Kudos to both for the great communication!

All that communication doesn’t mean much until launch, though. Now is the time where the rubber meets the road. We’ll finally get an answer to probably the biggest question on PPC advertisers’ minds: the traffic quality question. Will Yahoo’s historically-lower quality search partner traffic pull down results? Or will adCenter’s more robust matching & relevancy algorithms offset that? I for one remain skeptical – if I had to bet right now, I’d say that we’ll see a 30-40% decrease in results with the influx of Yahoo. I hope I’m wrong.

Another unknown is how well adCenter will transfer Yahoo’s icky Standard and Advanced match types into the more commonly-accepted Broad, Phrase, and Exact match. (Incidentally, I don’t think anyone is sad to see Standard and Advanced finally go away.) adCenter has provided information about how match types will be mapped, but I have my doubts. Even though it was 3 ½ years ago, I still remember how badly Yahoo botched the transition from the Overture platform to the Panama platform, and how long it took me to straighten out my PPC account. I was doing in-house SEM at that time; I shudder to think how arduous that task will be in an agency setting….

Finally, I would like to know when we will be able to set separate bids for Bing vs. Yahoo traffic. Frankly, I was stunned to discover that this option wasn’t baked in to the original Alliance plans. Advertisers have begged, pleaded and cajoled for more control in setting bids across networks since PPC first started. Why on earth this wasn’t part of the deal from day one is a mystery to me, and one that smacks of a money grab. (The official word from both Microsoft and Yahoo is that there were too many technical difficulties with building this functionality into the initial Alliance launch, but I’m not buying that. C’mon – you are Microsoft, aren’t you?)

We need this granularity in bidding. Traffic quality varies so widely from Yahoo to Bing, it’s not even funny. And it doesn’t always go the same way. We have a large B to B client who gets fantastic results from Yahoo – better than Google, even (higher traffic and a better CPA). However, their MSN campaign was a complete flop. They’re the only client we’ve ever turned off in MSN and left on in Yahoo. On the other side of the coin, we have clients who’ve flopped royally in Yahoo, but had huge ROI in MSN. And there are others who get consistent results across all 3 search engines. Regardless, I need the ability to bid appropriately based on traffic quality. Really, we all win when this happens!

What are you seeing so far with your Yahoo and MSN traffic?

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The Microsoft-Yahoo Alliance – 3 Things I’ll Miss

The search marketing world was buzzing last week over the Microsoft-Yahoo Alliance and what it means to PPC advertisers. Marketers lauded the Alliance, celebrating the impending demise of the aging Yahoo Panama user interface. My friends David Szetela and Joe Kershbaum discussed the Alliance during the latest episode of PPC Rockstars. (Side note: If you’re a PPC advertiser or account manager, and you’re not already subscribed to the PPC Rockstars podcast, do yourself a favor and go subscribe right now. You’ll thank me later.)

Overall, I agree with the sentiment out there – Yahoo Panama is clunky, and outdated, and was flawed from the start. That said, there are 3 things I’ll miss when the Alliance finally rolls out.

#1 – Lack of competition on MSN/Bing. It’s well-known that conversion rates on Bing are far superior to conversion rates on Yahoo. In my experience, if Google’s conversion rate is X, Bing converts at 3X and Yahoo converts at 0.6X. One of the reasons Bing converts better is the lack of competition.

The Alliance puts advertiser ads on the best PPC engine AND the worst one. We don’t yet know whether advertisers will have the option of creating separate campaigns for Yahoo and Bing. If that’s not an option, we’re all going to see lower conversion rates.

Even if this is an option, I’m betting more people will opt in to Bing when they can do so through one interface (as opposed to two currently). That’ll increase competition, thereby splitting the conversion pie into fewer pieces – resulting in lower conversion rates.

#2 – The quality of Bing traffic. While this is related to competition, it’s not exactly the same. PPC traffic comes not only from the search engine domain (e.g. Yahoo.com or Bing.com), but from search and content partners as well. Partners almost always dilute the quality of traffic from a PPC engine – especially in Yahoo’s case, where poor performance from search partners is well-documented. We don’t know whether Bing will add search partners to the mix; but if they do, we’re in trouble.

#3 – Yahoo’s Bid Slider application. OK, so it’s a minor feature in the overall scheme of things. But I use that slider a lot when managing client PPC bids. It’s a great visual that helps advertisers estimate ad position and bid quickly and easily. It beats Google’s Bid Simulator by a mile, even though the Bid Simulator is 2.5 years newer. It’s one of the few things Yahoo got right with Panama.

Under the Alliance, PPC management will happen in the adCenter interface, and Yahoo’s Panama will go away. For the most part, I’m glad, but I’ll miss that slider.

What will you miss when YSM goes away?

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Busy Week In The PPC World

It’s been a busy 7 days in PPC land, at least for me. One of the things that’s kept me busy is the Adwords Professional exam. My certification was set to expire at the end of this month, so I needed to re-take the exam. I’ve been using Google Adwords since its inception in 2002, so the exam wasn’t difficult, but it did take time. (By the way, I passed with 97%!)

Speaking of the Adwords exam, I wrote about why you should become a Google Adwords Certified Professional at Search Engine Watch last week. If you’re not certified, check it out.

Also keeping me busy this week is reading about the approval of the Microsoft-Yahoo Search Alliance. While nothing’s changed yet, the alliance could prove to be interesting over the next 12 months. I for one am looking forward to saving time and effort managing campaigns in the two very different interfaces.

For more on the merger, take a look at John Lee’s post on the Clix Marketing Blog. He pretty much took the words out of my mouth with that post. It’s great stuff!

And with that, I’m off to the rat race!

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Early Results from Bing PPC

The SEM world is still a-buzz over Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine. While it’s still way too early to tell whether it will be a Google killer or even an improvement over Live.com, early results for one of our adCenter PPC clients are encouraging.

I ran a quick analysis of visitors & conversions for this client, whose business is in the travel vertical, comparing the first 11 days of May to the first 11 days of June. Their PPC campaigns were unchanged during this time as far as budget and strategy.

Growth in visitors from Bing PPC is 25% higher than average. Even more exciting is that Bing/MSN’s traditionally-good conversion rate is continuing: conversion rate from adCenter is 58% higher than average for PPC, and actually increased since the Bing lauch – whereas overall conversion rate from PPC is down slightly.

Is this proof that Bing’s a Google killer? No. Is it a good sign for overall client ROI? Absolutely.

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