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How Will Yahoo Gemini Affect Your Search Program?

On February 19th, Yahoo announced Yahoo Gemini, a new ad marketplace that will integrate mobile traffic with native advertising. Yahoo Gemini will be managed through the Yahoo Ad Manager platform, meaning this mobile search traffic will be migrated away from its current platform, Bing Ads.

On March 10th, Yahoo unexpectedly began migrating a small amount of mobile traffic from select Bing accounts to the new platform, with a second wave beginning April 1st. Advertisers with migrating accounts cannot opt out of Yahoo Gemini without risking inability to serve mobile ads on Yahoo.com in the future.

While Yahoo’s rationale behind combining mobile and native advertising has merit, the implementation has felt rushed. Yahoo did not inform advertisers of this transition in advance, and many details are still unclear. As a result, there are many questions about how accounts will be affected, and what action should be taken in the short term.

Here’s the critical information you need to know about Yahoo Gemini:

Q: Will Yahoo Gemini include smartphones and tablet devices?

A: Yes, Yahoo Gemini will be the ad marketplace for both smartphones and tablets.

 What ads will show via Yahoo Gemini?

Gemini will initially include mobile ads on Yahoo.com only, but Yahoo does intend to extend Gemini to include Yahoo Search Partner traffic as well.

Yahoo Gemini will also serve native ads (formerly referred to as Stream Ads), which show on major properties including Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Movies, Yahoo Mail, and more (Tumblr coming soon).

On average, what percentage of Yahoo-Bing Network (YBN) traffic will be migrated?

Yahoo.com comprises about 40% of the YBN, and smartphone + tablet traffic comprises about 30% of total search volume on Yahoo. Thus, about 10-15% of YBN traffic may be affected. Once Yahoo Search Partner traffic is factored in, this percentage may grow to 18%.

What percentage of my total search traffic does this represent?

The Yahoo Bing Network accounted for about 20% of total search traffic per data collected by RKG in 2013. If 10-20% of YBN traffic is migrated, this means only 2-4% of total search traffic will be affected.

How quickly will Yahoo migrate traffic?

Only a small percentage of Yahoo mobile traffic has been transitioned to Yahoo Gemini, and only for select advertisers. As the Gemini marketplace matures, Yahoo will continue to migrate traffic.

Will this change occur for all accounts?

Yahoo is currently migrating accounts in waves, but plans to roll Yahoo Gemini out to all advertisers.

My smartphone and tablet traffic is split up between multiple campaigns. Which campaigns are actually going to move to Yahoo Gemini?

Yahoo will only move campaigns to Gemini if the Yahoo platform can preserve all existing campaign settings and capabilities.

Which capabilities does Bing Ads have that Yahoo does NOT?

As a new platform, Yahoo Ad Manager lacks several features, of which the most notable are:

  • Ad extensions – including Sitelinks, Call Extensions, App Extensions, Location Extensions
  • Mobile bid modifiers – as of now, advertisers cannot set separate bids for tablets and smartphones

Yahoo does plan to offer these features in the future.

Will mobile ads still serve on Yahoo.com via Bing Ads?

Yahoo and Microsoft currently state that only a portion of search ads on Yahoo’s mobile pages will be provided by Yahoo Gemini instead of Bing Ads, and that ads managed through Bing Ads are eligible to serve in the highest performing mobile search placements.

So, what’s still managed by Bing Ads?

Bing Ads still manages and serves 100% of traffic for desktop ads on Bing/Yahoo/Search Partners and mobile ads for Bing and Bing Partners.

How do we manage ads with Yahoo Gemini?

Details are still becoming available, but there will likely be three options for how to manage ads:

  1. Manage ads via the Yahoo Ad Manager user interface: This option allows for immediate management through the Yahoo interface, but is fairly manual and does not provide advertisers with the robust capabilities that are currently available via engine APIs.
  2. Build an API connection for Yahoo Ad Manager: This option provides the most functionality, though building a new API connection is a significant undertaking. Yahoo has not yet released full specifications for a Yahoo Ad Manager API yet, but once they are available agencies may consider building a new API connection.
  3. Manage ads via a connection to Bing Ads: As of now, Yahoo campaigns will be updated hourly with changes made to corresponding Bing Ads campaigns. Changes related to ad copy, URLs, and bids will all be included. In order for updates to be carried over to Yahoo, we cannot make any changes within your Yahoo Ad Manager accounts. Even one small update will break the connection between the two platforms.
    Note: It is likely that this connection will be broken at some point, making this option possible only in the short-term.

How does billing work?

Yahoo has reserved 1% of an advertiser’s Microsoft IO to be used as a budget for Gemini. Advertisers can adjust their Gemini budgets if desired. Yahoo ad spend will be included in MSN invoices as a separate line item.

Will Yahoo’s serving technology be different from Bing’s?

Yes. Yahoo will use its own technology, which unifies mobile search and native advertising.

What do I do once my campaigns begin migrating?

Work closely with your Yahoo contacts, who will keep you informed of any actions you may need to take.

In the short term, obtain a Yahoo ID so you can view which campaigns have been migrated. If the majority of your campaigns are ineligible to migrate (due to having campaign settings not available in Gemini), consider duplicating those campaigns in Bing (targeting only mobile users) and modifying the settings so that they can be transferred.

In the long term, determine the best option for managing your account’s Gemini ads. Depending on your account size, management through the Yahoo interface may be sufficient; however, for most accounts, an API connection will provide better functionality.

Conclusion

RKG projects that at full roll-out, Gemini will represent about 2-4% of total search traffic, with additional traffic potentially coming from native, non-search ads. Although this represents a fairly small percentage of overall search traffic, the Gemini launch does raise interesting questions about the future of the Yahoo-Bing Search Alliance.

Yahoo is moving very quickly with this change and some of the leadership at Yahoo have expressed disappointment with the Search Alliance. If Yahoo has plans to end the alliance and move desktop traffic to Yahoo Gemini as well, the change would have a much greater impact on search programs.

  • Mallory McClenathen
    Mallory is the Content Manager at RKG.
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