Pay-per-click marketing seems to be changing all the time. With Yahoo!’s new Panama system now rolled out, and Google consistently tweaking the AdWords platform, it seems appropriate to revisit the pros and cons of using each for your pay-per-click advertising. While there is still much room for improvement, I have included MSN Adcenter for those that are thinking of trying it.
Yahoo! Pros and Cons
The “originator” of the pay per click search engine
If your listing appears in the top 3 you also appear on MSN and AltaVista.com.
If your listing appears in the top 10 you also appear in Dogpile, Excite and theInfospace network
Large traffic volumes
Inbuilt search term suggestion tool, with search volume numbers
$75 free credit for new US customers
Advanced and standard matching of keywords options
Advertisement quality indicators
Easy to use customer interface
Performance tracking available (clicks and conversion??)
Ability to have multiple ads running at same time not previously available
Ads and keywords go live instantly (pending approval) instead of waiting the usual 3 days for approval.
Limited geo-targeting , with State/County level only available for the US and Canada
Tough review process for new keywords and a limit of 50 for each new campaign
Minimum monthly spend for some advertisers of $25.
Limited payment options, only prepaid available
Click fraud Issues (industry wide)
Very high click prices for some keywords
No multiple client centers available. All accounts need to be logged into separately.
|Google Pros and Cons
Strong brand name and large user base resulting in more website traffic
Strong and Growing Distribution Network including
Ads are ranked using algorithms and maximum CPC (cost-per-click) multiplied by CTR (click-thru-rate)
Automatically reduces bid prices to the lowest needed to gain top positions
Sign up process takes less than 15 minutes and ads go live almost instantly
No minimum monthly spend and no monthly fees
Advertisers can target over 225 countries, regions and territories, 6 language options and over 6 international currencies.
Several ads permitted in one ad group to test performance
Advertisers can choose broad, phrase or exact match keywords and add negative keywords if they choose.
Offers a Keyword Suggestion Tool
Ability to have site targeted campaigns utilizing banner advertising
Innovative new features such as Radio advertising
Multiple payment methods: prepay, post pay and direct debit.
Detailed Reporting Ability
Analytics program with conversion tracking
Ability to hold multiple clients in one main client center
- America online
- Ask Jeeves
- AT&T WorldNet
- NY Times
Content network producing very low CTR and ROI.
Click fraud issues (industry wide)
Very high costs for some keywords, i.e. “Movers Baltimore” $12 per click.
$ 5 setup fee
|MSN Pros and Cons
Has a good brand image supporting the service
Continued growth should start providing greater traffic volumes
Smaller traffic numbers than Google and Yahoo!
Click fraud issues (Industry wide)
Fewer reporting capabilities
$5 setup fee
Less features to choose from when setting up campaigns.
Behind the major players in terms of search partners and new product developments
More complex user interface
Yahoo! and Google are very similar in the services that they provide. Both are looking at ways of getting better-targeted ads, especially with the release of Yahoo’s new Panama system that has bridged the gap between AdWords considerably. Time will only tell whether Yahoo! can match Google on all levels considering they are always proactively looking for better ways to reach potential customers, (e.g. radio advertising program).
Google is by far the easiest and most feature rich of the two however are the most expensive in terms of click prices. So it looks like it is up to Yahoo! to continue improving the usability of their services while also keeping a close eye on the rising keyword costs and the potential bugs that seem to be popping up. In terms of MSN they are growing, however the search volume is still dwarfed by the competition. Hopefully, they will continue to grow and make a better presence in the marketplace just to create a little more competition for the big guys.