Yahoo! Announced Panama Launch : See My Notes About Panama Directly From Yahoo! Search Marketing's Headquarters

 

Disclaimer: These are my personal notes. I have not quoted anyone directly, these are just my notes and interpretation of what I got from my time at Yahoo!.

Arrived at Yahoo!, greeted by Kristen, who brought me to a room with other Yahoo! Search Marketing people. Also in the room was Greg Sterling (outstanding guy), Jennifer Sleg (aka JenSense), Andy Beal (Marketing Pilgrim), and Mona Elesseily (Traffick). Soon after Catherine Seda and Andrew Goodman walked in to join us.

Upon arrival they gave us a welcome basket in form of a Yahoo! Publisher Network messenger bag with a thank you card with our names on each one. Inside the bag is a pen, sticky pad, note pad, keychain, stickers, gum, pin, long sleeve tshirt, mini flash light, hot cup, basketball hoop game, umbrella, Zen MP3 player and more. Pictures at Cartoon Barry of Yahoo! Shwag.

Then they gave us a tour of the Burbank office, showed us the different departments on the four floors, the conference rooms, etc. It is a fun looking office and adjacent to the office is an other Yahoo! Search Marketing building for other departments, like customer service, sales, etc. Then we walked back down and had lunch, thanks Yahoo! Then the day began.

Yahoo! Search Marketing - Code completed about a few months ago - They have been testing in staging environment and in live environment - Live beta testers are internal users (Yahoo! employees) - We (bloggers here) are 1st to play with this as "external customers" - It is "battle tested" - Migration to panama over next couple months - It will be voluntary over next few months - Hard migration over sometimes after 1st of new year - Once you switch, you are stuck with it - It will 1st launch as a UI but then later - Launch a quality algorithm in Q1 sometime of 2007

- He explains why it is named Panama, the Panama from history (cute)

Account Structure - Current structure is flat, like a giant spreadsheet - New structure is a dynamic structure, more flexible, more relational -- There are controls at different levels of the hierarchy. Campaign level such as daily spend limit, monthly budget, scheduling, optimization setting and guidelines, default tactic settings, geo-targeting, watch list flag. Ad Group level such as tactic settings, watch list flag, optimization guidelines, creative optimization settings. Keyword level, editorial status, marketplace bid, custom landing URL, alternate text, tactic settings, watch list flag. Ad level, show, long description, landing URL, display URL and editorial status.

Some questions... Yahoo! is confident this is the best campaign management software available. But there will be bugs, it is new.

Fast Ad Activation - Get your ads online within minutes - Improved timeliness - Ad Freshness - Increased Flexibility - Promotional Integration - Sensitive ads will get live sooner, but what is sensitive, that is the question (trademark, illegal, etc.) (maybe have misquoted...)

- Start and end dates for campaigns (that is nice)

Spend Caps & Scheduling - Set campaign budget and schedule - It shows you dynamically based on your bid, your impressions and clicks and what you may miss

Enhanced Forecasting - Improved forecasting services should reduce transaction costs by allowing you to more effectively allocate your marketing resources, weigh opportunity costs and set campaign expectation - this page is customized for each advertiser. - This page is the most tested piece of the software - It isn't 100%, it will be updated and changed - You tell the tool the keyword the bid, the match type geographic target, distribution tactic. It outputs clicks, average CPC, average position and share of potential click. Forecast data reflects the current market state, forecast data is available at both the ad group and individual keywords. Forecast data will adapt and improve over time.

Analytics in Campaign Management - He explains that they check latent clicks and conversions... - Insight into assists, conversions, revenue, CPA and ROAS - Reports wont break out by YPN versus YSM but you can see referrers (Jen asked that)

How Geotargeting Works - The dev team is all over the world (San Diego, San Jose, London, India (of course)) - The London operation is where Yahoo bought "Where on Earth" a geo-targeting company, who they find are the best at geo-targeting (at least at that time). - Explicit query (california mortgage) - User defined location (your yahoo account) - missed last one..

Advertisers Controls of GEO - By market - By Region - By City and surrounding areas

National vs. Local Prioritization - user located in LA searching on "bank" - advertiser "A" bids on "bank" keyword at entire market - advertiser "A" bids on bank with geotargeting

Creative Optimization - Testing on -- Ads are tested and optimized -- Overtime optimization will drive towards... - Testing Off...

Optimization Guidance - Little bars to show performance

Live Demo of a test account done for us... - Lots of AJAX - Same people who helped develop Yahoo! Mail helped with lots of portions on the YSM Panama Interface - "Watched campaigns" flag, cute - Within a campaign you see the ad groups, in a similar interface and layout - Dynamic AJAX drive adjust bid tool, with neat sliders - Shows how budget changes, how they affect the overall campaign - He shows the "Reports Navigator", you can plot graphs dynamically, etc.

Now we test it ourselves... Bugs I found - Found a JavaScript bug with the add ad tool - Signed me out then, so I have to start from scratch... errr... - Displayed capital case in control panel but on live search page, it lower cased things

John Kim gives next presentation - Sign up process is easier and simpler - They reduce the steps to sign up, they just add you to set up an ad, not ad group, or campaign, etc. - He basically talks about how they tested it and such - Flat to Campaign based model for campaign management - They moved from bid for position and the volume associated with the position and a new ranking model based on CTR, algo, targeting, context, competitor not shown, etc.) - Tried to make it easier for smaller new advertisers, and can also be used for advanced users

Migration Process: - Everyone will get a preview to the new panama before migrating - "Categories" become "campaigns" - Terms with common creative templates become "ad groups" - 3rd Party Campaign Import -- Upload from a 3rd party your campaigns - The new system has new data, so download your history with your old system - Old data will be available in old system until April - Accounts will be moved to your own time zone - Listings with zero impressions for past 13 months or zero clicks for past 18 months will not be transferred over to new system - Tracking URLs will remain - Search Optimizer is forward compatible - Local sponsored search will be discontinued because they have geo-targeting - Content match bids will migrate over with will use a weighted average approach based on the bids ... - If you use a 3rd party tool, Yahoo will work with them

Meet The People Who Built the Yahoo Search Marketing Platform - Zod Nazem, CTO - David Ku, VP of Engineering (aka Mr. Panama) - Brian Acton, Director of Engineering (came from Search)

Zod explained that this is a new system that was built out as an Internet system. It is very modular, very expandable. Only a small piece of it, all the way in the backend is from the Overture. Brian said, They are tapping into search and research at Yahoo to tap into their stuff for ranking, etc. He explains that given an ad without any historical data, you need to make assessments on what you have. Title, abstract, landing page, authority, etc. Then you can gain more info from impressions, clicks, etc. Zod added, It is done by machines and not humans. Since Brian is from search, he gets excited about that stuff. Humans do have an input also, it is part of the machine generated ranking. Zod explains why Panama took so long to develop. Yahoo bought Overture in 2003. They first had to get their arms around this large system and it was growing like a weed. They learned that the existing system won't take them where they need to go. So they had to start from scratch. They couldn't use the existing team because they were maintaining Overture. They deployed a new team to build out the new Panama. That took a while.

I quoted http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/061011-094042 and they denied the sucking them up drive quote from the NY Times. 10% of his dev team is on Panama, so it is not the case. Brian adds that the integration is key, putting together several pieces and optimize that. Take in huge amount of advertisers, ad types and bring in all of Yahoo products and integrate them. Brain said they are in a good position, and the key is putting in place a system, and org structure to make them work. With Panama it is about the platform. And they can truly sit down and they is one Yahoo. Zed added that they have a test discipline. Testing concepts, etc, gives them a huge edge.

Zed responds to Microsoft adCenter's advanced targeting, explaining that if it is too specific, it may not get used. He then responds about click fraud, that they have the most experience with fraud and they are state of the art by far. It will be a race the whole time.

Tim C. & Team in the Cranium (or something like that) Conference Room: Market Place Design - Rules of the Game -- Auction mechanism design (ad ranking and pricing) -- Advertiser preferences (targeting and spend) -- Advertiser feedback (forecast and performance) - Goals -- Deliver the highest quality ads to users -- Drive high click volume to advertisers -- Improve trust & participation -- Drive rapid innovation

Key Features: - New Ranking & Pricing Model -- Past: Bid only. New: Bid & Quality -- Been testing this in production over the last several months - Quality Index -- Is a representation on a scale from 1 to 5 on how well the ad performs compared to its competition. -- CTR and relevance factors come into this equation --- CTR is huge component --- Other factors include; keywords related to the ad copy and display url (better the relationship between the two the higher your quality index rate). --- They have a scaling window for a period of time to see your CTR drop or go up over a period of time (you won't coast once you get a certain CTR) So possibly a weighted scale assigned to decaying CTR & quality index scores over time. -- Pricing Model, once cent above the guy below you is what you pay, that is if quality index is equal. If someone is paying $1 and an other is paying $0.75 and then an other is paying $0.60, so if the one bidding $1 is highest quality and the rest are equal, then one bidding $1 will pay $0.61, and one paying $0.75 will pay $0.51 and the one paying $0.60 will pay $0.26. - Enhanced Forecasting and Spend Caps - Geo Targeting

Rapid Innovation: - Based on user experience, customer input, science and economics - Rapid iterative releases - Features -- Improvements -- Traffic quality controls -- Pricing -- Better advertiser experience

Last Session of the Day: Cranium is the room the brains developed the Panama project. They ate more meals in this room than with their family. 30 different teams, 4 different areas. The releases will have most likely zero down time. In past three quarters, they had about 320 releases with quality. They will be doing releases to improve the product weekly from now on. A lot of hard work went into what they got now but they are very excited about what is in the future.

Code name Roosevelt, what is it? It is about taking all the different elements, and making changes in their capacity, ad serving, development, QA processes and so on. Roosevelt is the process of syncing all these teams. Why is it called Roosevelt? Because he set up the process to save the project time over time (i think he said that). It allows them to make changes quickly, very quickly. Code freeze is Wednesday. With weekly updates. Roosevelt is the process of for Panama.

Not all APIs will be free. Not all volumes. etc.

New advertisers will still sign up with the Overture system but that will change in a few months.

That was the end of our day at Yahoo!. Next was check in to the hotel, and then go out for dinner at this expensive place. Then bowling afterwards. I of course, did not go - but everyone else did.

I woke up Tuesday about 4:30 PST to start catching up, plus I am on NY time so I cant sleep. Those are my notes on YSM's Panama, today's note, I'll put in a different entry.

Day Two - Today posted at Day Two at Yahoo! Publisher Network in Burbank.

Disclaimer: These are my personal notes. I have not quoted anyone directly, these are just my notes and interpretation of what I got from my time at Yahoo!.

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Comments:

Joe Duck

10/17/2006 11:25 pm

Thanks Barry - great synopsis. I'm optimistic this can rival Adsense/Adwords ... are you?

Barry Schwartz

10/18/2006 12:37 pm

I am also.

Richard Ball

10/18/2006 03:08 pm

Barry, thanks for the inside look. Sounds like they're simply playing catchup to Google. Anything you saw that innovates over AdWords? Also, did they mention anything about retaining the Easy Track feature? That's a case where Overture implemented something from the beginning better than Google. I use it all the time for <a href="http://www.apogee-web-consulting.com/tools/track_yahoo_search_ads.html">tracking Yahoo paid hits</a>. I hope they keep it.

akhtar hussain

12/03/2007 05:05 pm

i read it i really like it it is so beautiful i love to panama and it is my big wish to come here i want to learn spanish language bye

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