Paid Search: Google or Yahoo?
January 6, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Sorry for the banal question, but I have to make a decision in the next couple of weeks. We have a new website with a unique product to promote. As of 2007: Paid search. Google or Yahoo? Combination of both? What percentage for each? Does it depend on the product / website?

I've been told to budget 70% on Google and the rest on Yahoo (and a bit on MSN). Is this accurate? Would this be based on Google's dominance in searches? Will Yahoo get better in 2007 thus justifying more even spending between the Google and Yahoo?

Client is sold on using paid search campaign. Just want to know how to break it down and what factors go into making those decisions.

Many thanks.
posted by paulinsanjuan to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on the product.

Yahoo is visited by more women than google.

Google is slanted to the technical and those later in the buying cycle.

If you can afford bot,m then do both. Throw MSN AdCenter in too so as to not miss any potential sales.
posted by Mick at 8:26 PM on January 6, 2007

You shouldn't decide things like this up front, it should be based on experimentation. Make sure you're collecting the stats that'll allow you to calculate ROI and observe user behaviour, then you can spend a small amount on each search engine and analyse the responses.

You should also be constantly experimenting with different ad types and wording, carefully comparing performance to gradually learn about what works for your specific site.

If it's a 'unique product', will it need to publicise its features to create a whole new market? This type of advertising won't work if it isn't directly relevant for existing searches.

Even though the client is set on using advertising, try to make sure their site's getting as much free search engine traffic as possible. Too many businesses throw endless cash at advertising yet don't bother to fix really basic things like page titles, accessibility and URLs.
posted by malevolent at 2:55 AM on January 7, 2007

A problem I ran into is that Yahoo will approve your ads only if they are directly and obviously relevant to the search term. Google will let you try anything with any keyword, and only cut you off if it doesn't actually work.
posted by trevyn at 3:03 AM on January 7, 2007

What malevolent said is right on the money. Tracking is absolutely key as depending on the product and demographic you are targeting either Google or Yahoo could perform best. Also consider Ask and MSN as I've gotten some great ROI/ROAS from them.

One of the best tips I can give you is to use geo-targeting as much as possible. It's an easy way to focus your campaign to specific people and can often bring in much lower CPCs.

Good luck with this!
posted by phixed at 9:41 AM on January 7, 2007

Trevyn: In what circumstances would you want to use an add that wasn't directly relevant to the search term? In my experience Yahoo is pretty good about allowing ads that aren't completely specific if you can show that it's part of some branding campaign.
posted by phixed at 9:43 AM on January 7, 2007

to be honest, i havent used a yahoo search since - oh hell, i dont know when. it's been like 7 years. i've never liked the results. the problem is that i've had my yahoo accounts for nearly a decade. i'm slowly migrating everything over to google. google has become nearly ubiquitous. yahoo tried it with that 'do you yahoo?!' catch phrase. but i've never yahoo'd when i used it, and i prolly never will now.

whatever your product is, if its yahoo-centric, i'd never see it.
posted by Davaal at 6:57 PM on January 7, 2007

phixed: I believe I was using competitor's names, which is the source of the majority of my Google traffic. Also weird little specific phrases like error messages, and other random stuff that does convert with Google.

I rarely use Yahoo either, but it does get conversions, which is all that matters.
posted by trevyn at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2007

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