As you may be aware, on May 16, Yahoo started to require short descriptions for PPC ads while the long description (190 characters) became optional. This change is preparing the way for a more significant change later this week (beginning of June) when ad descriptions longer than 70 characters may automatically be cut off in Yahoo! Sponsored Search results. The 190 character descriptions may still show for some of Yahoo’s partner network sites although which specific ones were not disclosed.
These changes may hurt click-through rates but most seasoned marketers who have dealt with Google AdWords long enough have mastered the art of short writing for maximum click-rate. The real “hurt” in my opinion as a once devout user and evangelist of Overture.com, is the continued “bow down and submit” stance of Yahoo to Google.
At one point in time, Overture.com and Google AdWords were contenders. In some cases, Overture.com was the dominate PPC sales source for some clients while Google AdWords was dominate for others. Both were consistent drivers of equal importance for achieving a high performing pay-per-click marketing campaign. Then Yahoo purchased Overture and it all seemed to change.
Google leaped frogged Overture with a superior customer (as the advertiser) experience from cutting-edge functionality like split-testing ad copy. They completely set a new level of user-design for advertiser control. They also defined a whole new platform structure (e.g. Campaign, Ad Group – Keyword) for pay-per-click marketing. And since the initial “leap-frog” – Google has not stopped innovating. The newcomer, Google AdWords, challenged the leader, submitted them and became the new alpha dog.
After the much-hyped launch of Panama, it was apparent that Google had defined how pay-per-click marketing works. And, at least for me now, has become the new standard from which I compare all others to.
The 190 characters made Yahoo different and helped marketers tell a story in a way not available in Google AdWords. The new change to use 70 characters; however, is additional proof that Yahoo knows who’s the alpha dog. Google is setting the best practices for the PPC market and others are simply following along. I still recommend Yahoo Search as a component of an effective pay-per-click marketing program – but I am no longer an evangelist.
Do you agree? Let me know! Do you see any new comers prepared to make a challenge for the alpha position?