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Google and Enhanced Campaigns may have gotten more air time, but Yahoo’s been busy in 2013. First, they did a revamp of their homepage; in April, they launched their new native ad unit, “stream ads”, that show within the organic content stream.

Since then, Yahoo has opened up the ads to their other properties (Sports, Music, TV, Mail, OMG!, etc.), along with improving their targeting algorithm and now providing internal conversion tracking and optimizations. At 3Q Digital, we’ve seen success with these highly engaged ads, specifically since the changes to targeting and optimizations.

We’ll break down the new units: what they look like, how they work, bidding/targeting options, and the positives and negatives we’ve seen to date.

First, here’s how they look:

yahoo instream ads

(images courtesy of Yahoo)

To create an ad:

-Write a title and description, add your URL, and upload an image.

-Preview your ad on all device types.

-After you create an ad, create more ads with the Clone feature.

To create a campaign:

yahoo UI

-Go to the Campaigns tab.

-Set a time frame.

-Enter your budget and the most you’re willing to spend per click.

-Select your targeting preferences.

Speaking of targeting, here are some quick nuts and bolts on the particulars:

Bidding: Yahoo allows for CPC bidding with a daily or lifetime budget.

Targeting: For domestic users, Yahoo lets you target based on country, state, city and/or DMA (it also allows international users to do the same if they visit the US site).

Structure: Yahoo has an ads-> campaigns -> account structure and omits ad groups.

For tracking options, you’ve got:

Non Conversion Data

-UI: Clicks, Impressions, CTR, CPC, Spend (Account, Campaign, Ad Level).

Conversion Data

-Outside of Yahoo! you should use whatever analytics tool you already use and just tag URLs.

-Internally, use Yahoo! Pixel. Reps will optimize properties based off of conversion data. (Note: we HIGHLY recommend using this option.)

Historical Performance

We used the internal optimization on day 40. Here’s what happened.

-CPA decreased from $100 to $62.

-Conversions increased from 8/day to 15/day.

-No change in spend.

-CTR: .19%

-CPC: $.21

-Initial bid: $.5

-Current Bid: $.75

After running the ads for a couple of months, we’ve developed some thoughts on best practices, pros, and cons. Here goes:

Best practices

-For conversion tracking, make sure to use analytics tags and use Yahoo’s internal tracking

-Keep your initial bids between $.50 and $.70 and your initial budgets to >$150/day to gain traction

-Test top search display/ad text, but expand and leverage longer ads. Be sure to test bold and creative images

-Leverage your reps

Pros

-It’s a huge awareness driver in a highly engaged environment

-Allows smaller budget clients to leverage high-traffic placements with manageable CPCs

-Proven to work for ecommerce with $100 AOV

-Yahoo!’s Internal conversion tracking is kicking butt so far

Cons

-You can’t see data at the property level (Mail, Sports, homepage, etc.)

-Currently limited in terms or targeting (NOTE: this is being upgraded frequently)

We’d recommend that you try these ads if:

-You are looking for new opportunities outside the GDN

-You are seeing high CPCs in GDN and can’t sustain a manageable CPA

-You’re in ecommerce and want to leverage the holiday traffic on a highly engaged placement

Have you used the Yahoo native stream ads? What’s been your experience?