On Yahoo’s new Panama platform, geo-targeting for all campaigns defaults to “Entire Market,” which includes the US and Canada. When our team learned this, we turned off Canada for many of our Yahoo accounts to avoid driving unqualified traffic to our US-only retailer sites. Research into our database told us that only about 2% of the current traffic for these clients was coming from Yahoo Canada and costs were trivial, but we figured it would be best to exclude Canada to save some money.
Not so. Some of our clients experienced a major drop-off in traffic on some of their top keywords. Others reported that ads were being served normally in some parts of the country, but not at all in others. Yahoo confirmed our suspicion that since geo-targeting locates a user by IP address, if an IP address cannot be determined, the user goes into an “Unknown” bucket. Thus ad campaigns limited to “US Only” are not visible to these Unknowns, and traffic drops off; Unknowns are only served ads from campaigns set to “Entire Market”.
Yahoo says that about 5%-20% of searchers end up in this Unknown bucket – a range which can vary across markets. Our team decided that the small costs of including Canada in geo-targeting far outweighs the risk of losing a large portion of qualified traffic.
We find ourselves faced with a real dilemma for clients that have two Yahoo accounts, one for their US site and the other for a site dedicated to a Canadian market only. Do we turn on Entire Market for the US account and let these campaigns compete against our Canada Only campaigns? Or do we set each account to US Only and Canada Only, excluding all of those Unknowns? Neither is ideal, but a couple weeks of testing should give us some sense of which is the better solution.
-- Kate Spanos