What Yahoo! needs in Search Marketing?
Earlier this week, Yahoo! Philippines invited a few media people to their office to talk about their Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) service.
During the discussions, Yahoo! reps revealed that local advertisers doing PPC via YSM are mostly the big corporate advertisers rather than the smaller SMB players. Likewise, majority of the campaigns are still display ads as opposed to PPC text ads in the SERPs.
Since Yahoo! first introduced Project Panama to the Philippines back in 2008, I was actually optimistic with the developments including a possible introduction of the Yahoo! Publishers Network to Philippine publishers.
Those not familiar with YSM can check out this presentation:
But despite the local presence of Yahoo! in the country, there seems to be something lacking in the whole mix.
- The Yahoo! Philippines team is very visible. Ever since they set up shop, they’ve been making a lot of noise and been actively participating in a lot of activities.
- Yahoo! has very strong community relations, both offline and online. They’ve got the Yahoo Developers Network, the Flickr Groups and Yahoo! Answers Community.
- They’ve got a great team of talented and very passionate people creating relevant and localized content.
But here’s where the message gets a little garbled:
- Yahoo! is packaging itself as an internet portal rather than a search engine. It looks like it’s working well but that seems to be diluting their search competency (or the impression that search is a core competency). It seems search has just become a byproduct of their portal strategy.
- Then, they killed the Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN) last April. YPN is to AdSense is what YSM is to AdWords. It kinda turned off a lot of publishers.
- Yahoo! stopped accepting new members in their YSM Ambassador program (similar to Google’s AdWord Professional program or GAP).
Reaching out to small and medium business in the Philippines to do search marketing needs a different approach and a community push. The Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador Program would have helped. Ambassadors get the official blessings (certification) and credentials, they get support from Yahoo! Community Managers and in return, the ambassadors become an army of salespeople pushing YSM to first time users and smaller advertisers. It’s a win-win arrangement.