Coming right on the heels of Microsoft's adCenter launch, the team at Yahoo has finally decided to publicly release some details of the updates they plan to launch this fall to their own pay per click advertising platform. In an email sent to Yahoo advertisers, the company laid out plans for more than half a dozen new features designed to give advertisers more control and better returns for their campaigns.

An overview of new features from the email:

  • Easy-to-Use Control Panel
    A completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel will help you see what's working and what's not--at the level of detail€ you choose--so you can take action and get even better results.

  • Fast Ad Activation
    Most new ads will go online within minutes, allowing you to connect with customers quickly, and easily make changes to your ads whenever you need to.

  • Ad Testing
    Easily test multiple versions of an ad to find the message that works best for your customers and provides the greatest return on your advertising investment. You can then choose to shift impressions to the ad that performs best.

  • Geo-Targeting
    Display your ads broadly or narrow your geographic distribution to better target your customers, customize your ads and control your costs.

  • Campaign Budgeting, Forecasting and Scheduling
    Create, budget and schedule individual advertising campaigns for greater control over your advertising strategy and spending. Review forecasts of your potential clicks based on your bids and budget and see how many clicks you're leaving to your competitors.

  • Visibility
    Understand how well your ads are performing relative to your competitors with the new Quality Index displayed for each ad. You'll also see the bid range necessary for premium placement at the top of the search results page.

  • Easy-to-Use Control Panel
    A completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel will help you see what's working and what's not--at the level of detail you choose--so you can take action and get even better results.

"While the enhancements to our platform are dramatic and will provide immediate benefits to our advertisers, we ultimately rebuilt our system with the future in mind," said Steve Mitgang, Yahoo!’s senior vice president of advertising platforms and products. "Once the first version of the core platform is in place, we will be able to move quickly to build in capabilities that ultimately will provide search advertisers deeper access to Yahoo!’s more than 420 million users, broader advertising capabilities, proven targeting expertise and global distribution network."

Yahoo! has also released the API for the new system so that companies that rely on API technology for paid search management will have time to build new versions of their software before the updates are launched later this year.

Existing advertisers should expect to see a series of new emails from Yahoo that will provide some types and information on getting your account ready for the changes. They'll also be adding a new blog to cover tips, news and information about Yahoo! Search Marketing.

Once Yahoo has launched the changes outlined above, they'll begin another feature rollout designed to rank ads based on a quality index. This change will result in Yahoo having a ranking system that more closely resembles the one in Google's AdWords. Currently, Yahoo paid search ads are ranked based solely on the bid price of the advertisers. The new system, while still unknown, will incorporate things like ad text, click through rates and geographical region to help make sure that the most relevant ads rise to the top of the listings.

Yahoo has stated that it also plans to roll out "additional distribution options" and new ad targeting based on either demographic information, online user activity or other features. The launch dates for those features is still unknown.

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May 8, 2006

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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