This is an anecdote about Yahoo PPC advertising. My purpose is to demonstrate how Yahoo is simultaneously better and worse than Google Adwords. Let’s dig in.

About 3 months ago my brother and I decided to increase our advertising budget. We thought we would include Yahoo search marketing into our portfolio of spending.

Like many people, we don’t like spend money unless we know that there is a huge ROI. Plus, we’d rather spend money growing our organic search potential versus paying for one time results. Nevertheless, we wanted to see if there was ROI with Yahoo PPC Advertising.

As a quick aside, we made this decision primarily based on our research that people were getting reasonable clickthroughs for an overall cost lower than Google Adwords. In other words, you might get fewer clicks from Yahoo but the cost per click would be lower. It seemed like a good risk to take.

When I signed up The Rhodes Brothers to use Yahoo PPC advertising, I was struck by two things immediately. First, the user experience was different than Google Adwords. I admit that I liked the rich and robust offerings from Yahoo. There is more to experience although I would have liked more the advanced functionality buried and more of the basic (simple) functionality brought to the surface. If you’ve used Yahoo search marketing, you know what I’m taking about.

The second thing that struck me was that I had to pay in advance. In other words, I needed to deposit money into my account before any clicks. In my books, this doesn’t fly. I really hate to pay in advance for services. This is not friendly to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

This “pre-payment issue” almost stopped me from opening my account. But, I wanted to take the service for a spin, plus I was already invested in the process and didn’t want to lose out on the time that I did spend.

Several months passed…

I checked my Yahoo search marketing account several times at first. The reports are robust, but the experience is more complex than necessary. I was also a bit frustrated with the inability to fully customize my experience. I’m talking about the reporting.

I reviewed my cost per click (CPC) and realized that Google Adwords was providing a similar price point. In plain language, the cost for keywords was virtually same between Yahoo and Google. In a few cases, Google was clearly lower.

I didn’t take any action based on this analysis. It was just useful information. However, a few days ago Yahoo hit me with another pre-payment. As I said, paying in advance is against my nature. I don’t mind paying for goods and services but paying in advance just doesn’t sit well with me.

This hit to my credit card prompted action. I logged in to my Yahoo PPC advertising account and moved forward with a request to cancel. It was a form submission, which annoyed me. I was not able to kill the account online, immediately.

About 1 day later, Yahoo emailed me. It was courteous. However, they informed that I would have to call them to cancel my account.

What!?

Yahoo is an online company last I checked. Why on Earth would I have to call Yahoo to cancel my account? This is silly in my opinion. In any event, I was forced to call. Here’s how that went.

I called into Yahoo and very quickly reached a customer service representative. I explained that I don’t like to pay in advance and that I didn’t like that I had to call to cancel my account.

The response by the Yahoo PPC account rep was that they want to ensure a great customer experience. Hey, I understand that desire. But again, Yahoo is an online company. In my opinion if they can’t handle my account cancellation online something isn’t working.

I want to dig on that topic. If I was working inside Yahoo I might push this mode of business. There’s nothing as good as pressing flesh. Sales is about interactions with people and a phone call is better than an email. But, again, it isn’t friendly to the folks on the other side of the transaction — like me. I don’t have time to call and chat about my account. I just want it closed.

In all fairness, Yahoo also wants 100% verification that I do want to close my account. They want to make sure that I am the person behind the request and they want to do what they can to ensure a great customer experience. But again, it just isn’t the right model for an online company like Yahoo.

After a good conversation with the Yahoo advertising rep, the account was closed and I was issued a refund. It was actually a good experience, but I certainly didn’t benefit from it. It was really for the sake of Yahoo, not The Rhodes Brothers.

I’ll end by saying that I like Yahoo and I think that the PPC advertising service they offer is going to work great for some people. Yahoo isn’t stupid — they know how to play the game. It just feels like it’s the offline business game and they are stuck in the 1990’s versus 2007. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.

Oh, one more thing. I also killed my Yahoo account and kept Google Adwords because I’m busy and I like to consolidate my activities. In this case that means managing just one PPC account is easier than managing two. The ROI on clicks didn’t justify having both Yahoo PCC and Google PPC. I’m all for simplicity.

Here’s a major caveat to my story above. It’s not that I am recommending against Yahoo PPC advertising. Instead, my comment is that it wasn’t right for me. The only way to know if it’s right for you is through testing. You need goals and objectives.

You need to set up your campaigns, measure the time invested, the payback, and the overall ROI. It’s possible that Yahoo PPC advertising is the winner and that Google fails for you. In summary, test, test, test. Check that ROI and then take action.

Editor’s Note: If you interested in building serious web traffic, contact us at rhodesbrothers@gmail.com — The Rhodes Brothers are internet marketing web traffic experts.

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