A recent article in RED HERRING discusses Yahoo’s plans to revamp and improve both their publisher network and search marketing solutions.
As I see it, Yahoo has a huge opportunity. There hasn’t been enough competition in both the PPC advertising and contextual network space. Google has been running the show for a while now, and it’s time for someone to come in and punch them in the gut, so to speak. However, they need to execute.
Adwords is a great product. Google has done a wonderful job with it, and I know personally I don’t use Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture) as much because it’s such a pain to use. It’s just not as easy to use as Adwords, and that’s hurting them. The other factor is that Adwords is driving more conversions for advertisers due to the search volume and contextual network volume. Can Yahoo compete with that? They’ll be losing MSN’s volume soon, and that will hurt. Can they make it up by making Yahoo Search better or growing their publisher network?
On the publisher network side, publishers would love a viable alternative to Adsense. So far almost all reviews report a great click payout from the Yahoo Publisher Network, but less targeted ads which equals fewer clicks. I don’t think the problem is the targeting, but that they’ve got fewer advertisers coming through Yahoo Search. If they fixed the Yahoo Search problems, they’d have more targeted ads, thus giving publishers a great alternative to Adsense. There are other things they could do with the network to attack Google, like disclose the revenue share, provide more transparency, etc. At this point it doesn’t look like they’re headed in that direction. Is that a mistake? Time will tell, but Yahoo has a big opportunity in front of them.