Speculation abounded in December last year that Yahoo! were planning to re-vamp their search results page. With the aim of the exercise to increase the number of clicks for advertiser’s listings, and an improved search experience for users, time will tell whether the new layout will bear the promised fruit. With the release this week, it should operational as you read this.
The main change to the results is the shortening of sponsored text ads. Previously limited to 190 characters, the new format will restrict the ads to only 70 characters. This means advertisers will need to be more focused on getting their copy right to engage and convert the audience in less words.
Yahoo! believes that the longer ads will be available on other areas of their network, which has some advertisers wondering whether 2 versions of their ad are required. It would appear that the shortened version of the text ads will simply be a truncated version of the original ads. So the first 70 words had better count.
Shorter ads shouldn’t be anything new to paid placement advertisers, with Google using the shorter format from the get go. The new Yahoo! format won’t be as easy to implement as replicating Google ads however, as advertisers need to bear in mind the user characteristics of the two distinctly different search engines and adapt their copy accordingly.
It will allow advertisers to more closely compare the results between their Google and Yahoo! campaigns, with many being concerned that the new changes will lose the qualifying benefits that the old Yahoo! format offered.
With Yahoo!’s entire PR effort centering on the new format’s benefits for advertisers and users, one glaring omission was the huge increase in revenue available to Yahoo! by running even more sponsored results on their search pages. Hmmm – I wonder why? Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say, so go and check out the new format for yourself. You can decide whether you feel it is more user-centric or not, and share your thoughts with the rest of us!