YSM Content Network Quality

Hi guys,

I have read a few posts on Webmaster world today about the quality of Yahoo Search Marketing traffic and I can’t agree with what they mentioned more.

We have the experience of working with a rather large scale Search account in North Asia for a while and even though Yahoo has the bulk of search traffic in that country, its content network traffic is totally ****.

The client is an international Bank and we are tasked to drive Online Applications at an acceptable CPA (Cost per App).

We spend most of our budget with Yahoo Search since Yahoo has around 65% of the market share. It’s a very natural choice.
However we want to test out all four different traffic sources and evaluate the performance of each source so we set up:

  • One channel for Yahoo Search
  • One channel for Yahoo Content
  • One channel for Google Search
  • One Channel for Google Content

What we found over time was that while Yahoo Content Network could drive an enormous amount of traffic at very cheap price (US$0.05/click) or lower), the quality was too poor to derive a decent CPA.
The CPA for Yahoo Content is normally 3-4 times higher than Yahoo Search in this particular cases.

It’s hard to believe that out of 3000-4000 clicks, there is only one successful application.
Our response to that is we want to investigate further.

  • Is it click fraud?
  • Is it the case that people first visit the site via Yahoo Content (First Visit) but then the application form is too long and they don’t have all the personal details with them so they leave. After that they remember the brand, do a search on Yahoo (the same search platform) and complete the registration (Sales Visit).

The “good” news is the so called “world class” ad serving and tracking technology was implemented poorly so we can’t do either of the above.
For click fraud, normally i will rely on two methods:

  • IP & Browser combination
  • Cookie

Our own technology makes it really easy to identify click fraud especially when we have a target action in place. Yet we couldn’t use our own technology in this case.

For the second unknown, again the tracking technology used is not capable of providing us the whole user journey (multiple visits across multiple traffic sources) information easily.
We have to work through a third party agency with regards to tracking and all we have is pretty much a simple excel report.

So it doesn’t mean we can do much there either.

In conclusion, despite all the constraints and unknown, we have to conclude that traffic from Yahoo Content network is highly bogus. Luckily we did separate traffic from Search and Content otherwise we would be doomed, trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
So a simple recommendation is: do segmentation as much as possible!

That’s all from me. Do you experience the same with Yahoo Content Network? Feel free to share here.

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