Change is hard, folks. I know it. You know it. But we can’t put off the inevitable any longer. It’s time to deal with the Yahoo/Microsoft search alliance and the upcoming impact it has on your PPC campaigns. I’m going to stay away from the organic side of things, but here’s a handy post on Yahoo’s blog that provides more info on that if you want to dig in.
First, the basics. Yahoo & Microsoft are aiming to have the transition completed by the 2010 holiday season which we all know is fast approaching. There is no specific cut off date though, so at this point my best guess is that the transition should be complete by or before October. Also, it may not happen until after the holidays if something goes horribly awry.
Now, whether you advertise on Yahoo or Bing (MSN Adcenter) or both or just one, ALL campaigns will be managed via the Adcenter. As such, here’s what you need to know for a seamless and headache-free transition.
If you have an existing Yahoo account but are not currently advertising on Bing
You’re going to need to transition all of your accounts to Microsoft’s AdCenter. This means you’ll either need to create a new Adcenter account or link your Yahoo account to an existing Adcenter account. There will be an Adcenter tab within the Yahoo Search Marketing interface that is meant to help with the transition process. The timing for this is some time in August per this recent blog post by Yahoo. Once the transition is complete, then your ads will start showing up on Bing. It’s not clear if you can opt out of serving ads on one or the other engine from this post though, be careful of spend if you’re not already advertising on Bing – as volume may go up (it may not go up very much though, depending on the category).
If you have an existing Bing account, but are not currently advertising on Yahoo
As far as I can tell (and this may change), you don’t need to do anything if all you have is an existing Bing (MSN Adcenter) account. Per this blog post on MSN’s Adcenter blog, “If you do not have any PPC campaigns running on Yahoo!, there is no action for you to take with this post.” However, MSN recently changed their editorial guidelines which will disallow certain types of ads (e.g., electronic cigarette ads, usenet ads, (possibly) drug ads) – so you should familiarize yourself with the new guidelines to make sure you’re not suddenly going to be banned.
Note to my existing clients: you are all fine in terms of allowed content, except one of you, and you know who you are.
If you have accounts on both Bing and Yahoo
The best way to manage the transition is to link your existing Yahoo account to the MSN Adcenter via the aforementioned tab in the Yahoo Marketing interface. If you prefer not to link the existing accounts (possibly because one of them has been inactive for a long time), then you’ll need to create a new Bing account and link it to the existing Yahoo account.
Here are some resources that will help you manage the transition:
Existing Advertisers of both engines should also be getting email updates about the transition, mostly from Yahoo.