Prior to the Search Alliance, you might remember Yahoo Search offering Rich Ads - multi-component ads, eligible to serve for brand terms on Yahoo that looked something like this:
After about a year hiatus, select advertisers who participated in Rich Ads under Yahoo were grandfathered into a new beta within adCenter in July 2011, bringing Rich Ads to both Yahoo and Bing SERPs (but not their syndicate partners). Traffic began slowly ramping up all summer as the kinks were worked out and just last month, Rich Ads became available to all premium adCenter advertisers.
The most common Rich Ad format incorporates deep links (very similar to Google’s Sitelinks) as well as an image and, optionally, a favicon. The headline, the deep links and the image are all clickable. Other formats available include video ads, special pharma ads and form ads.
Launching Rich Ads in adCenter
The first step in launching Rich Ads is to send a list of your brand terms to Yahoo for approval. Here at RKG we have the benefit of working with an awesome support team at Yahoo and this process is turned around in about 2 or 3 days. Once you have approval, you’ll need to create a new campaign and add your ad group(s) – for many accounts a single ad group is fine because brand terms may all have the same ad copy. Then add your keywords - we do this via the API, but you could import them directly into the UI or use the adCenter Desktop tool.
Once the keywords are added, you’ll need to create the Rich Ad in the UI (note: the following directions pertain to the image/deep links format only; if using a different format, the ad creation process varies slightly). Click ‘create an ad’ and select ‘rich ad’. A pop-up window will appear with all of the information you need to supply – headline, deep links text (max – 25 characters each and 70 characters total) & the corresponding URLs for four deep links, ad text, display url, image alt text & icon image (16 X 16) as well as main image (80 x 60 image less than 4096KB).
When everything has been added – review the sample ad and, when you’re satisfied with it, click save. Note: if you are adding a second version of an ad for promotional copy or just to include another message, you can simply edit the original ad and select ‘save as new’. Be sure to enable the correct version of the ad after you save.
Assessing Rich Ads Performance
Initial comparisons between brand keywords triggering standard text ads and those triggering Rich Ads may be misleading. Since Rich Ads are only available to show on Yahoo.com and Bing.com and are only eligible on exact match, just looking at high level campaign performance likely indicates a big W for Rich Ads on all fronts – lower CPC, avgpos=1, higher CTR, steady CR. But to truly compare these two formats, we need to limit to just exact match data and to the same set of keywords. Yahoo has said that RAIS should be eligible to show on the main domains, on exact match as much as 80% of the time.
When we whittle the text ad cluster down to a true apples-to- apples comparison, we do still see better performance from the Rich Ads. For a sample set of 9 clients running Rich Ads for over 30 days, we see Rich ads with a significantly higher CTR at a lower CPC.
We’re also not quite seeing traffic at the 80% level – more like 50% for this sample of clients.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on this new product and are excited to see additional new product offerings from adCenter in 2012.