New YSM Search Platform Open to all US Advertisers

The much talked about “Panama” update of the Yahoo! (formerly Overture) pay-per-click search marketing platform is now available to all US advertisers as announced on the YSM blog

This is great news for clients who previously could not consider Yahoo! in the US as a result of the lack of geo-targeting features.

In the past, if you only served a local market, yet operate in a market where your target audience typically does not search locally, you would inevitably have found that advertising on Yahoo! would not have been economic.

This development changes that. Allowing such businesses to target local visitors, even if the searcher does not show local intent in their search phrase, will swing the economics.

It also opens up the ability for local businesses to try new tactics, such as targeting searchers (who are in the area the business serves) when they are in information search mode.

For example a dentist could advertise a free report on teeth whitening. Whilst the report may be of equal use to someone on the other side of the country, the dentist would not want to pay to get the searcher to read the report.

In the “old” days, the dentist would not have considered using Yahoo! for this sort of approach. Now they can, only paying for people in their catchment area.

I was pleased to see the following footnote on the Yahoo! blog post:

“Geo-targeting accuracy is not guaranteed, and may vary depending on the level of targeting selected, as well as other factors.”

Of course, no geo-targeting on the web is 100% accurate, in most cases it is pretty poor but better than nothing. This open admittance by Yahoo! is in stark contrast to Google, who no doubt bury a disclaimer in their T&Cs but in my humble opinion, seem to think their targeting accuracy is rather better than it is.

It is encouraging to see Yahoo! taking geo-targeting seriously. The word from Yahoo! themselves is that the targeting will be more accurate than that offered by the other providers such as Google AdWords. We look forward to putting it through its paces.

Of course, we are still waiting for the Yahoo! functionality in the UK when most of our clients will be able to really start to make best use of it.

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