Pay per click is a cost-effective marketing tool because you only pay when a customer actually clicks on your advert. This site, which is part of Yahoo's Small Business operation, provides this type of service. However, it is US-based and so UK users will have to accept some limitations if they choose to use the service.
A big attraction of advertising on Yahoo is the fact that, according to comScore statistics for January 2009, 53 million people use them every day and there are 28 billion searches each month. In addition, the adverts are also featured on other partner sites such as AltaVista and InfoSpace. This gives you a big target audience for your adverts, with many users being UK-based or elsewhere.
The way it works is that, when you sign up for the service, you create an advert that comprises text to promote your business, some keywords that identify your products or services (a keyword selection tool is available to help you) and the URL of your website. You also decide how much you want to pay every time the advert is clicked and the maximum amount you want to spend each day. The cost per click will determine how high your advert appears in the search results while the daily spend budget may limit the number of clicks allowed each day. All values are in dollars so you'll only know the true costs once the advert starts running. And, of course, as exchange rates fluctuate, the Sterling value will vary.
Businesses can opt to be billed in £'s and set a £ click rate but, as with Google Adwords, the exchange rate will therefore be one set by Yahoo Search Marketing PPC services rather than your credit card. Which one do you trust to give you the best deal? Including exchange rate commmissions? Tough one, huh?
If a user searches for a keyword that appears in your advert, the advert will appear in the search results marked separately from the "organic" search results as a sponsor. Clicking on the advert will take them to your website and result in a charge being made for the specified amount. The targeted nature of the advert means that users who do this are interested in what you are selling.
Each new Yahoo advertising account requires a non-refundable deposit for the first batch of charges. There is an offer of an initial $50 credit but this applies to 'new US Sponsored Search advertisers only', which presumably means that UK customers don't qualify and need to fund the account ... thanks alot.
You can get an idea of likely clicks by entering your keyword and the maximum daily spend. It's also possible to limit your costs by restricting the advert to selected countries or time zones, so you can choose to concentrate on UK customers only. Providing you are planning to spend at least a set monthly amount, you can take advantage of the Assisted Setup Program. In this case, Yahoo specialists will choose your keywords, write your advert and recommend the cost of each click. However, you need to call a US number to arrange this and so might need a VoIP phone to keep the cost down. The line is only open Monday-Friday from 8am until 5pm Pacific Time zone, so you'll need to find a convenient time to ring. Alternatively, there are firms in the UK that specialise in running pay per click campaigns ... and no, there is no way we are going to recommend one on this page.
The service started in 1998 as Goto.com. In 2001, it was renamed Overture Services Inc. and was bought by Yahoo, who had been displaying the sponsored search results, for $1.63 billion in 2003, with the old brand name being eventually phased out. Whilst www.overture.com (www.overture.co.uk was a completely different company) was a nice easy address to remember, the new one is a complete handful as sem.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/searchenginemarketing -- you can shorten it to smallbusiness.yahoo.com to get there and view all products available to businesses. But note that smallbusiness.yahoo.co.uk and business.yahoo.co.uk do not work and uk.smallbusiness.yahoo.com just sends you to the same place.
A major upgrade to the service was announced in October 2009. New features include a desktop tool to manage campaigns, integrated rich adverts and network bidding to set separate rates on different distribution channels. Adverts are also being made available on smart phones such as the iPhone.
The company did win a UK High Court decision in 2008 against an allegation of trademark infringement. The claim that entering a keyword of 'Mr Spicy' (no, we'd never heard of them either) should show the trademark owner's PPC advert rather than those of third parties was dismissed on the grounds that there was no actual use of the trademark. Advertising rules have also been changed to conform to UK Gambling Commission guidelines. Adverts can no longer invite users to gamble and so extra care has to be taken with wording.
If you look at the company's website to see what it's all about, it's full of phrases such as 'empowering users', 'creating indispensable experiences' and 'changing the way people communicate'. While these all seem to be laudable aims, the cynics amongst us probably thought it was more about making money. It does, after all, include shopping platforms, finance, auto and real estate sections, and is liberally sprinkled with adverts and various 'opportunities'.
Something that was started as a hobby by two students back in 1994 has mushroomed into a global brand with over 500 million users worldwide. From its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, it extends to twenty markets and regions globally. What began as search engine and web directory is now a global online network that pulls together a variety of services that you can use as you wish. You can access all or most of these from the main site (www.yahoo.co.uk), which act as a web portal to the rest, or directly.
The Yahoo search marketing aim is to expand the business further, particularly in emerging markets. Maktoob.com, the leading online community in the Arab world with 16.5 million users, was acquired in August 2009. Nevertheless, the business has generally lived in the shadow of Google to some degree for the last few years and has struggled to make any headway against it. Microsoft has made several unsuccessful attempts to buy the company but a ten-year deal was struck in July 2009. This will result in Yahoo using Microsoft's new Bing search engine but selling adverts on both company's sites. The result, it is expected, will be reduced costs and increased revenues.
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