Yahoo has the second largest market share as a search engine. In the area of paid search, its Panama platform has been improving gradually over the past months. The list of latest improvements were announced on the official Y!SM blog.
With PPC being a great channel for both new lead generation and high volume of sales drive, many international businesses are considering the implementation of global PPC strategies on Yahoo is as essential as on Google Adwords. However, the Panama system has major issues that have been upsetting advertisers with global marketing strategies.
Inefficiency to Scale Up Volume
Experienced PPC advertisers all understand that it requires considerably more time in launching new global campaigns on Yahoo Search Marketing than on Adwords, mainly due to Yahoo Panama’s country-based platform.
You have to create a Panama account for each country you target, even the countries all shared the same language, say English. This means the US campaign you set up in your US account will not be shown to UK audience through the Yahoo UK search engine or its UK search partner sites. Essentially for each country, you will have to set up campaigns separately. This will involve a lot of efforts in cloning your existing campaigns across different accounts.
Scaling up campaigns globally (or across multiple countries with the same language) via the Panama system is considered extremely time-consuming for many PPC advertisers. They would prefer to spend their efforts on Adwords in expanding into new campaigns and refining existing campaigns.
Poor Market Research Tool
It can be worse for advertisers who are more adapted in using Adwords, when they are used to start with the “target-all” strategy. Some PPC experts use Adwords as a great market research tool to get a good overall global view of their industries. Once they have discovered exactly where their marketing budget should be spent, they shift towards the areas where the best ROI can be obtained.
Panama is never an efficient or effective market research tool, as it lacks efficient scalability. Yahoo has never been and will not be able to leverage the marketing expenditure from this area, comparing to Google.
Complications on Campaign Maintenance
Google is way leading in the area of efficient campaign setup and maintenance with its self-developed campaign management tool, Adwords Editor. Yahoo Panama relies on a single-page spreadsheet template for the same purpose.
Panama’s spreadsheet template consists of 34 columns including settings of information for campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads. With 4 different types of rows (for campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords) in the mix, the high level of data manipulation makes the maintenance become a mistake-prone task.
Complicated Financial System
Yahoo advertisers who are on the pre-paid option have to fund each one of the regional Panama accounts with his credit card. Those on the post-paid option will have to prepare for insertion orders and work with invoicing per account.
Advertising across different countries also means an advertiser will be billed in different currencies when it comes to Panama accounts of different countries. The US account will be billed in US dollar, while the UK account will be charged in British Pound Sterling. Also with all the different currencies, it adds difficulties to reconcile marketing cost.
Inflexible Reporting System
Yahoo Panama provides users 7 major reports below. However, each of the reports lacks flexibility. For instance with the keyword performance report, you will not be able to only extract performance of keywords for a specific ad groups (or a few selected adgroups).
- Performance Summary
- Ad Performance
- Daily Performance
- Keyword Performance
- Performance by Geographic Location
- Daily Spending Performance
- URL Performance
For Yahoo to prevent Google from pulling away in paid search, it has to improve Panama in many areas listed above. For related topics, you may also want to re-visit my previous post about the importance of versatile PPC platforms.