A New PPC Can of Worms Has Been Open…The Yahoo Search Query Report

While, the Google Search Query Report is old news in the industry, has anyone else heard of the "Yahoo Search Query Report"?

About a year ago, Google released the "search query report", which caused waves across PPC marketing professionals. This report opened up a can of worms so to speak. Basically, the report allows individuals to see any term they are being broad matched to.

When the search query report was launched, I was doing PPC for a Big Wedding Brand. The first time I pulled the report for my client, we were being broad matched to the singular term "formal". This caused my heart to palpitate, as I would have never wanted my ads to appear when a searcher just searched for the term formal. Since the Search Query report's launch, search marketers have learned to pull these reports to help them build out negatives for overly broad terms they do not wish their ads to be served for.

Google's Search Query Report showed SEM Marketers that Google's definition of broad is pretty broad.

What about Yahoo's Advanced Match? How “advanced” is “advanced”?

Yahoo does not provide the Yahoo Search Query through their interface. However, the Yahoo Search Query report does exist. I came about the report by accident.

I manage an account that spends over 30K a month in Yahoo, which means I get “special treatment.” I have a premium rep, who helps me manage the account. One day I was complaining to my rep that I would really like to see what search queries my ads were being matched to because of Yahoo's “Advanced Match,”

Lo and behold I discovered the Yahoo Search Query Report. My rep said that they can pull a report that shows me what term each keyword on advanced matched is being matched to.

“Send it to me!” I exclaimed.

My Premium Rep now sends me monthly the “Yahoo Search Query Report” With the Yahoo Report, which is not the case for Google's, you can see at the keyword level what search queries a keyword is being matched to (Google's report you can only see the ad group triggering the impression). With Yahoo's report you cannot see conversions even if you are tracking them in the interface but in the Google report you can.

Now, just as my heart stopped the first time I pulled a Google Search Query Report, my heart stopped again upon opening the Yahoo Search Query report.

I was bidding on a very long tail term – a four phrase term (Note: which included the term “online” in the query) and according to my Yahoo Search Query report I was being Advanced Matched to the term: "Online"

Yes, you read that correctly, my ads were actually showing for the term online – a long tail term nonetheless was triggering my ad to appear when someone searched for the term “online”. Just writing this brings back the heart palpitations.

To pour salt on this wound, the client the report was pulled for was in a very competitive PPC landscape where each click had the potential to spend up to $10.

I have since added 100's of negatives to my account. The Yahoo negatives, act like the Google “Negative Exact Match.” Adding the term “online” as a negative prohibits my ad from showing up for that term and only that term. For example, if I were bidding on the term “online dating,” I would still show up for “online dating” just not the stand alone term “online.”

This was not the only instance of poor “Advanced Matching” in my account. There were tons of other terms that caused my heart to skip a beat, but “online” was definitely the most disturbing.

I whined about this for awhile in my office, telling my colleagues how unbelievable it was that my ads were showing for the singular term “online”. My colleague Crystal wanted to get a similar report sent to her for a different account. Here is the twist of this story - Crystal who has a different non premium rep, asked for the report and the response she got was…“I have never heard of that report.”

Her rep had no idea what she was talking about. So, Yahoo has this report, which is replete with useful information for advertisers and not only do they not publicize that it exists, but also their own employees do not even know that it exists. No wonder Google makes up about 70% of ad spend.

The fact that Yahoo hides the existence of this report from their own employees makes you wonder how confident Yahoo is with their advanced matching technology.

Maybe Yahoo does not publicize this report because they are afraid of too many advertisers opening up the Search Query Report can of worms.

What can other PPC advertisers take away from this tale?

  • Ask Yahoo to send you the search query report. They have it; you just have to be pushy about it if they say they don't at first. If your Rep does not know about it, ask to speak to his/her boss. I have seen the report - it exists!
  • Watch out for Long Tail Terms in your account that have alarmingly high impression levels. For example, can there really be 3000 people a month searching for “online under water basket weaving class.” This should raise red flags that your long tail term on “advanced match” is most likely being matched to some overly broad term such as “basket”
  • Make it part of your process to check this report monthly so that you can continually add more negatives to your account.
  • Like Google, this report can also provide Keyword expansion ideas that you can add to your account. Amber at PPC Hero goes into more detail this for this in the post “2-major-reasons-why-you-should-run-a-search-query-report-today”
  • Yahoo's advanced match is quite advanced and from what I can tell, Yahoo's matching algorithm is much less sophisticated than Google's. Take the results that show up when you search for “Online” Google only matches one ad to the term “online” Yahoo has 8 advertisers matching to the term online. (Note: my ad is no longer there). Do you think all these advertisers are really bidding on this term? I bet “” would love to hear their ad is showing up number one when someone searches for the term Online. I'm guessing they would love to be in on the secret of the “Yahoo Search Query Report.” I know I am.
  • - Bonnie

    Yahoo Online Search Query

    Google Online Search Query

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