Yahoo Search Marketing’s New Look – A Rough Transition

An analysis of Yahoo Search Marketing’s transition to 70 character character limits on ad descriptions.

Can you imagine an army general telling his troops during a battle that they’re changing course, but some will stay on the same course, and he may change his mind about the new course at any time? It’s inconsistent and doesn’t give the troops a vision they can rally behind. That’s the kind of message Yahoo Search Marketing sent today to their 100,000+ advertisers when they announced that they’re changing the display of their ads.

Yahoo has announced plans to shorten the number of characters they display on pay per click ads within search results. Is this because shorter is better? That’s not entirely clear.

From today’s Yahoo Search Marketing’s newsletter to advertisers:

A new look is coming to the Yahoo! search results pages that will translate into more clicks for your listings. On January 18th, Yahoo! will debut a streamlined design that will make the search results displayed on Yahoo! even easier for consumers to read. Our research has shown that by improving the search experience in this way, advertisers can generally expect to see an increase in clicks, while maintaining their conversion rates.

Great opening, but things get muddy in the details:

  1. Yahoo states that their syndication partners plan to continue displaying full ad descriptions. If shorter descriptions receive more clicks, thus revenue, why would their syndication partners stick with the status quo?
  2. Should advertisers now write 70 character descriptions, followed by bonus copy for Yahoo’s partner sites?
  3. Transitioning thousands of ads to the new 70 character limit could be a tedious task for advertisers. Should they let Yahoo crop their current ads or spend the time rewriting their ads?
  4. Complicating things further, Yahoo states that they will, “fine tune the exact character count that we believe works best for advertisers and search users.” How is an advertiser supposed to write creatives for a moving target?


I think Yahoo Search Marketing is moving in the right direction, but the transition announcement lacked the leadership and decisiveness I’d expect from a company of Yahoo’s stature. Yahoo’s advertisers are their troops, and are looking for direction on how they – in partnership with Yahoo – can reap the best return on their ad spend. Tell them what works. They’ll do it.


Is Yahoo Search Marketing really doing this to make their system compatible with Google Adwords? As more advertisers use the Google Adwords API to manage their campaigns, wouldn’t it make sense for Yahoo to make it as easy as possible for advertisers to push the same ad copy to both ad networks? Does Yahoo consider accommodating Google AdWords advertisers a winning business strategy?

What do you think?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Yahoo Search Marketing’s New Look – A Rough Transition”

  1. Google is following a monopoly to maximize their revenues through Google Adwords. This is something which is making Google lag behind other search engines like Yahoo, and MSN.
    Google became popular because of its latest/accurate results. These days Google is surely aiming to deliver accurate results , but their ranking filters and algorithm can eventually hit back Google like a Boomerang.
    They are trying to maximize their Adwords/Adsense revenue, and to enable this they are deliberately holding back ranking of several useful websites. Whenever I have to search for some latest news, free software, free script etc etc, I have to rush immediately to MSN since it delivers latest results. Moreover MSN has emerged as a NO-ENTRY zone for Adult related websites. This will be a major boon for MSN. Their Image search is far much advance than Google 🙂
    These days even Yahoo is gaining pace over Google by delivering latest results in their search engine. Surely Google has to wake up before it is too late. Their useless filters are making life miserable for genuine websites/forums to score top rankings on Google. Moreover it is making life miserable for search users by restricting their search results.
    If you are searching for some new stuff then try searching on MSN. I am sure you wont be dissapointed with results. Surely Google needs to wake up before its too late

  2. I was aware of this change for quite some time, as I am sure many others were as well. It has been posted within the ad console for several weeks now.
    Personally, I think Yahoo should concentrate on their organic results. Recently, I was searching in Yahoo and found a Spanish language page on the first page of the results. As far as I could tell, it had nothing to do with my search subject.
    This is not the only example of stray pages showing up in Yahoo’s SERPs. I frequently find misplaced pages on the first and second pages of search results. I would think that Yahoo has been around long enough to know how to accurately offer good, relevant results. Obviously, with the most recent implementation of their new tag, this is not the case.

  3. 10 years back nobody knew Google, but everybody knew Yahoo. You shouldn’t be surprised if you see a whole new search engine emerging from outers-space 🙂
    Meanwhile I have found several other search engines like Dogpile which are very accurate and effective, but the popularity factor of Google is making other search engines look effeminate.
    Nobody knows, but surely the current situation of stagnated results on Google and increasing Adsense/Adwords fraud can give rise to a whole new search engine .

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