On 10 Sept 2009, Yahoo launched a new PPC Traffic Quality report that will be a real boon to PPC advertisers wanting to track the effectiveness of their campaigns across the Yahoo Search network. Yahoo provides PPC ads along side search results for both Yahoo properties and other sites that show Yahoo search results (called the Yahoo Search Network, or Search Partners). Since Yahoo does not allow advertisers to opt out of their search network, tracking performance is of paramount importance to making the campaigns successful. The new Ad Delivery Report will help savvy advertisers optimize their ad spend.
Generating the Reports
Generating the report is straightforward: after logging in to your Yahoo PPC account, click on the “Reports” Tab, then on the “Ad Delivery Report” link under “Traffic Quality Reports” in the left-hand navigation.
Merits of the New Ad Delivery Report
I recommend downloading the report into Excel (or other spreadsheet) to make the data easier to manipulate. Once downloaded, the report provides a wealth of information to the advertiser. You can see a domain-by-domain breakdown of all the usual PPC metrics (impressions, clicks, CPC, CTR, etc.). The best part of using this report is that it provides a list of impressions as well as clicks, so you can identify where your ads are being displayed but NOT being clicked on. This helps in a couple of ways:
- you can determine sites which generate impressions but not clicks can drag down your CTR, and
- you can identify sites that are inappropriate for your ad campaign and block that domain even before paying for clicks.
Using the Ad Delivery Reports to your advantage
You can use the report to:
Identify poorly performing sites – Sites with a very low CTR can be identified and blocked. Similarly, sites with a high Cost Per Conversion could be culled.
Avoiding unnecessary impressions – Poor targeting may cause ads to display without generating clicks. This lowers the CTR performance. Sort the data by CTR and consider culling the lower performers, assuming you have given them a chance (say 200+ impressions) to generate some clicks.
Block out of area delivery – Geo-targeting is based on the IP address of the searcher, but consider that if you have a US-based offer, searchers on Canadian or UK sites (both of which showed up on the US-limited ad campaign in the report above) are probably not your target demographic.
Suspicious behavior – Sites with a very low CTR are not helping your campaign, but sites with an extremely high CTR are also suspicious. If your typical CTR is 5%, and you are seeing 100% CTR from a site with many impressions, this could be a red flag. Note that a site with 1 impression could have 1 click and 100% CTR, so make sure you have multiple impressions to confirm any suspicious behavior. I recommend culling these domains, and if the behavior is egregious (say 10+ impressions and a 100% CTR) consider reporting the domain to Yahoo.
Adding poor performers to the Blocked Domains list
Once you have identified domains on which you would prefer your ads NOT be displayed, you can add them to the “Blocked Domains” list for your account. To do this, click on the Administration tab, then on the Submit Domains link. We recommend adding the 2nd level domain (e.g. somesite.com) rather than the 3rd level domain (e.g. http://www.somesite.com, search.somesite.com, etc.). If you provide a 2nd level domain, ALL matching 3rd level domains under that domain will be blocked as well. FYI, Yahoo also supports blocking specific subdirectories (e.g. http://www.somesite.com/news) from being used, but since the Ad Delivery Report only reports on the domain (not the path), this would require the use of a 3rd party click tracking tool (like http://www.PPCProbe.com) or manual investigation of each domain to see where the ads might be displayed on the site.
Limitations and Caveats
There are a few limitations and caveats that you need to be aware of:
Blocked Domains List Limitations – there is a limit of 500 domains that can be blocked per account
Delayed Implementation – Yahoo says it may take up to seven days for a block request to propagate. In practice, I have seen it take as much as 30 days, so track your requests to make sure they are implemented. Submitting a domain that is already on the list won’t hurt, and the system will warn you if you make a duplicate request.
More Sites Waiting in the Wings – In some industries, the Yahoo Search Network sites work fine. In some very competitive areas, however, there are a lot of “domainer” sites with no real content that capture significant traffic. Blocking these sites can become a persistent problem, as new sites move into the rotation as others are blocked. Keeping on top of the issue is key to making sure that only the best, on target sites are used for your ad delivery.