Monday, March 17th, 2008

CPA Marketing Series – Winning With Yahoo Search Marketing

First off I should start out by saying that this past week/weekend has been one of the most stressful weeks I have gone thru in a long time. A long story short, it feels really good to be back at the keyboard pounding away on how to make money with CPA Marketing. Today I want to talk about campaigns/offers/Yahoo Search.

I seen a few comments, maybe a forum post or two and definitely quite a few emails of people asking me how and what the “secret” is to getting zip/email submits past Yahoo’s Manual Reviews. Well, I got to tell you right now that their is now “secret” to getting around this. If there is then trust me when I say, “Nobody has given it out”. That’s not to say you cannot do it. I am just telling you that CPA Marketing very well extends PAST email/zip submits. Some of my best offers have been cost per sale items within CPA Networks. As a matter of fact, these are actually easier in Yahoo than email and zip submits. For the spirit of fun though, we are going to stay on course and still talk about email/zips. Just so you know, it most likely will not be easy. It’s not going to be a golden token you throw in the fountain and money appears. It takes work, as does ANY business online or off. If you can stand to sit on your ass, in the coolness of your house, from your computer chair and put forth a little effort then email/zip campaigns on Yahoo can work for you.

So let’s get to it.

The first thing you should know is the Yahoo Quality score. It’s  lame to say the least. You get a cute little bar telling you what your score is. Obviously you want a 5. As lame as it is, it is a lot more refreshing to know that you need to work on your optimization WITHOUT knowing that you need to pay $5-$10 like lamo Googly Search. If your NOT going to work on your campaigns in Yahoo and try to achieve the highest quality score possible as well as a decent Click-Thru, then you might as well be pissing money in the wind.

So before even beginning you already have it in your mind that:

  1. Yahoo hates email/zip submits
  2. You need to achieve a decent CTR and a high quality score

What is the answer to this solution?

It always has and still is to this day that I really group my keywords well EVERYWHERE I go. I know that I got a lot of questions on how I group keywords for the Google Content Network and now you may have a better understanding of why I did/do that. To obtain a high quality score in Yahoo – You have to be relevant. Plain and simple. I have never really had success uploading hundreds of keywords all related to one landing page. As a matter of fact, I have never had success ANYWHERE doing that. If you have read that somewhere then there are two things to cover here:

  1. That information is severely outdated
  2. People are getting away with it by gaming the engines. (keywords stuffing, invisible text, even cloaking).

I’m not really going to teach you how to keyword stuff. Not until we get to MSN Adcenter at least. :)

If I were to tell you how to game the engines and keyword stuff, make invisible text or even cloak then you would probably just blame me for losing campaigns and possibly accounts. I deal with enough shit as it is so I really dont care to take on those types of conversations. If you want to learn tricks and gaming then go to the forum.

So keyword optimization on landing pages and within your keyword groups is crucial to a good quality score on Yahoo. Do not be afraid to create dozens of landing pages for the same offer. As a matter of fact, with automation you could create hundreds of pages. It’s simple to do. If you were to hop into the dating or financial niches, it’s a necessity. Creating a landing page for each city with keywords grouped around it is the way to win. Also know that Yahoo is pretty easy going on landing pages compared to Google. In my experience I have gotten away with murder on Yahoo compared to Google. Google hates “thin” affiliate sites whereas I can generally get away with them on Yahoo GRANTED I am not requiring personal information on my pages.

So what works?

for email and zip submit campaigns I have found that using large creatives for my landing pages are the fastest and easiest ways to cruise into converting them. Unfortunately this means one more click from the user to the conversion. However, if you have the proper mindset it can be INSANELY profitable. Let me try to put you in that mindset. You should know that this type of marketing requires judgement and stereo-typing. If you are the uptight type then this may not be for you. I am only doing this as a general example of the types of email/zip offers I have gotten to work GREAT with Yahoo.

Tip: You should know that recently Yahoo implemented direct linking. I still have not tested this but I do not intend to with email/zip type offers. I’ve tested every iframe, frameset and cloak that I know of and eventually I have every one of those shut down. In my opinion, make a landing page. This still wont guarantee that you will get the campaign shutdown but it damn sure helps.

I wont go into specifics and cutting my own throat but I have found that Entertainment type offers have always done the best for me. Why this is, I dont have a concrete answer. I have stated before that Yahoo does have a lot going on with their services and even their homepage. It’s 100 times more interesting to land on than it is to land on Another reason is that Yahoo Buzz is almost always dominated for entertainment type searches. From games to musicians to celebrities they usually outweigh the more serious terms HEAVILY.

So now my judgemental and stereo-typing as a marketer comes into play. I start stalking my market and thinking about entertainment offers that may do well in Yahoo. I have a few things come to mind such as downloads, games even digital type offers. When I think of that I immediately think of Neverblue and there entertainment, gaming and downloads offers. You can use any network you want. I just thought of Neverblue because we chose the college offer earlier on the content network. I scan them and come up with a couple of ideas. More specifically I see Xbox 360 and Funcard offers. I quickly scan for large creatives and see a fee I can use.

Xbox 360 elite

St. Patricks Day Funcards

Normally these graphics are 720×300. I have resized them just as general guides. Now the funcard offer is not an email/zip type campaign. The Xbox 360 elite offer is. I added this St. Patricks Day eCard offer in here as a general way to open your mind to the type of offers I like to run in Yahoo. Like I said, email and zips are a tough ride in Yahoo no matter what you do. With that said, I would simply take the Xbox 360 large graphic and add it to a simple template. Normally I like having a black background with a white space inside. I generally make the whitespace as wide as the graphic so it fills the page. Now I can simply put my own title in there as well as my own text. This serves as my bridge into the offer.

Stalking your market and ad copy are of the utmost importance here. Generally speaking and playing Halo 1, 2 and 3 for many years going on now, when I see that graphic it instantly makes me think how cool it would be to get a 360 Elite. add the bonus of grabbing a copy of Halo 3 and I’m SOLD! Now you should have a really enticing headline and some text underneath the graphic. It is in your best interest NOT to use the word FREE. Try using something else such as “Giveaway” “Claim Yours” or “Get One”. Using the word free generally triggers Yahoo’s Editorial team in reviewing what is on the other side of that landing page. When they do that, your usually done. Not all the time, but most of the time.

This is a really simple way of getting around the hate Yahoo shows for zip/email campaigns. This is not a long term solution but when your running email/zips you are already in the mindset that nothing is longterm anyway.

Cost Per Sale On Yahoo

This in my mind is a bit easier because I generally dont try to capture personal information from clickers to my pages on Yahoo. I have not done any type of specific pre-selling or list building on Yahoo Search. I normally make simple review style pages featuring 3 products. I have found that 3 is a lot better than 1 or 5. With reviewing one product it’s just 50/50. It’s still 50/50 in a sense for conversions on a 3 product review but this allows options for people and generally my conversions are higher depending on my niche/offer. I have tried a 5 style review and never once got one profitable. I believe that there is just too much going on. Besides it takes longer to do.

With cost per sale CPA Offers on Yahoo I still dont really forget about the entertainment industry. Call me crazy but even when I am selling products on there, I have the entertainment industry in mind. For that matter I have generally leaned towards things making the body prettier or healthier. Most of the celebrity searches that own Yahoo are generally providing gossip related stories. What comes with gossip related celebrity stories? I’ll give you a hint…pictures.

Everyone reading these types of stories are ALWAYS interested in SEEING pictures of the celebrities. I never really got into Celebrity Gossip. Frankly, I think it’s stupid. I’ve read some celebrity gossip blogs and just from reading the comments I know that what I do for a living in life is secure. I know this because stupid people outweigh smart people online from about 99 to 1. I have NEVER gone to a celebrity website to catch a pic of Britneys new snatch photo. Nor do I care about Paris Hilton filming herself in the bedroom. Now you want to know why I go to celebrity sites? It’s to learn.

Just by paying attention to media you can see that tons of people want to be like Britney, look like Britney, even have the same things as Britney. Even though you will probably not find specific offers related to this in the Industry there have been gems that have been personally endorsed by celebrities. I cannot really just come out and say the few offers I have found but every now and then you can make bank by grabbing one of these personally endorsed celebrity offers.

 Yahoo is not overly complex, so dont make it out to be. I like large graphical thin pages with a good headling and relevant text underneath it for my zip/email campaigns. I have found that review style pages have worked the best for me in Yahoo. Try picking out 3 offers/products from 3 seperate networks and test them. Also you should provide a graphical rating system as well. I personally like yellow stars showcasing which products are the best.

Remember that Yahoo in my opinion is kind of unstable. You should be in contact with Yahoo Support with any issues that may arise. I have found they are more receptive to feedback and questions as opposed to Google. You should also know that I have not advertised on the Yahoo Content Network. I think Google has really cleaned up their content network side of the advertising industry but I believe that Yahoo is far lacking from accomplishing this. Again I could be wrong and this is only my opinion. Do not be afraid to test it.

Category: CPA Marketing
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17 Responses

March 17, 2008

Ruck you said “Do not be afraid to create dozens of landing pages for the same offer. As a matter of fact, with automation you could create hundreds of pages”
What is it that you are using to automate this ?
Is it still required with yahoo to have the contact,privacy etc. pages as google requires for QS or is it just good practice to have it on there regardless ?
I’ll ask this cuz I know it will be asked . How many KW max are being used with each Group or ad ?
Thanks Ruck

March 17, 2008

Do you test an offer on the Google Content Network first and then test it on Yahoo Search before going to Google Search? Or are you just introducing Yahoo Search here to say that it’s good for entertainment type offers, i.e. not the college offer?

For some reason I thought you were going to take the college offer and show how you might develop it.

March 17, 2008

zip submits works quite well in yahoo…..and I iframe them too :)

March 17, 2008

Ruck, great post. I have a few questions. What do you mean by a “thin” landing page? Just a page that is really simple and to the point, the point being them getting to click through again? Also, when you use a creative in a landing page do you basically just have a page with a title, the creative, and then some text to optimize?


March 17, 2008

@ GoKarter – I got my own in-house landing page script. However I know that LPGen and PPC-Coach have great automated landing page makers. I didnt want to introduce this until later on when with the advanced tools talk cuz you really dont need them just to get firing.

It’s just good practice to do the privacy and extra pages no matter where you go really.

I’ve said before that some landing pages are just one keyword. It just really depends on what your specifically doing when you start keyword grouping.

@ Rip – Typically I fire the offers on Google content first before Yahoo. Yahoo is where I like to go second. This will just change from person to person really. I know people who swear by starting on MSN first before any others.

I very well could take the college offer and develop it. However since most people like an idea of what I had success with, I went with the entertainment offers in Yahoo.

But there is a development section ste-by-step coming in the forum. I thought I would work personally with the people who wanted particulars on offer to offer.

@ Jinger – Thats Awesome! Personally I have never lasted more than a week with an email or zip submit. If you say its working, by golly I’ll have to break the iframe again.

@ andrew – yea a thin site is really just the 1 page with no other links and very little content. Just enough to slip under the radar. But yea, A good title (I like red and black coloring) and then a small write up (with keywords) under the text. A lot of this can be automated with the tools mentioned above. PPC-Coach has a landing site generator and its fantastic but you guys might want to hold tight a bit. I just got a pm from one of our forum members who has developed something I thought was really cool. If he decides to sell it, it will be cheaper than whats out there (looks like). We’ll just have to see what he comes up with.

March 17, 2008

Hey Ruck —
Good to see you posting again. Sorry you had such a rough week. This is another excellent post, thanks for giving us the lay of the land with Yahoo. Take it easy.

March 17, 2008

Yep, it even converts better on yahoo than google for me. Could be an anomaly, but I’ve been direct linking with Yahoo before they even started allowing it, with 5 bars! I only recently began iframing, nothing changed though.

Yahoo’s “QS” is quite laxed compared to google. They don’t seem to care much about landing page (obviously), but what matters to them mostly seems to be relevancy. Relevant ADs and Keywords, and especially CTR. DKI works best for me, and never bothered with yahoo content since i heard they sucked.

March 17, 2008

Hey Ruck,

Sorry if I misread something and this has already been answered, but when you talk about creating multiple landing pages, are they to test to see what different ad copy (titles, text and banners) work or is it to cater to different keywords for different ad groups?
Because if it was just a keyword thing, you can probably get the keyword passed over in the destination URL and dynamically insert it into your ad copy….or do you recommend against that because of Yahoo’s Advanced Match Type and you can’t be sure what keyword is coming through?

Speaking of Match Type…are you getting to that?

March 17, 2008

I had no idea Yahoo was so lax on QS. I am going to have to give them a shot for sure…maybe with a ‘3 review’ type page. Thanks.

March 17, 2008

@ Keith – I wasnt really going to go into match type as I gave away the Yahoo Search Marketing PDF but I normally go with standard. You probably could have dynamic landing pages (I use them on google) but normally I use my landing page creator for Yahoo.

I kind of wanted to give just my way of using them here but I would love to talk more of them in the forums. That’s where most of the conversations have been carrying over. I could spend a month just talking about Yahoo.

March 17, 2008

Seems I’ll have to join the forum after all…

March 17, 2008

Ruck, just wondering….
Do you know if direct linking is allowed in all countries, or just in the US?
According to Rosalind Gardner, a CJ newsletter says:

“…Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) has recently updated its editorial policies and will now allow U.S. publishers to direct link to their advertisers…”

You can read the entire thing here:

The thing is, I’m not in the US….

About CTRs….the higher is obviously the better, but for yourself, a decent one starts from….? 2%? 3%?

March 17, 2008

Hey Franklin,

I am not sure. I have yet to test with direct links with it being so new. However you should be able to sign up for a US advertisers account with Yahoo. I dont know if that helps you or not.

I like a CTR of 2% actually. However with as targeted and nitty gritty as I get, 4-8% CTR’s are not uncommon but volume is a problem.

March 24, 2008

To a lot of people YSM seems to be a dark beast. There is “some” info about it on the web, but most blogs concentrate strictly on Google AdWords. Personally, I find YSM is best for starting up your PPC career. Also, Affiliates involved in PPC should have offers running in at least the Big 3 (Adwords, YSM, MSN adCenter). If you put your eggs in seperate baskets, you will be less affected by a Google Slap or sudden change in any one of the PPC engines. This will give you more time to react, and your bottom line is better insured.

March 15, 2009

Hmm Yahoo looks like a risky place to advertise on, but I’m guessing the competition is much lower compared to adwords so your cost per click will be lower and you will have more of a chance on competitive keywords.

August 3, 2009

Great tutorial. I made a decent amount of money using yahoo on ppc polls. Excellent high quality tutorial. I’ll be looking forward to all the future tutorials you have.

Thanks again.