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!”