(YSM = Yahoo Search Marketing, aka Overture)

I may have been too hasty in my dismissal of YSM.   Yes, their interface is terrible.  Yes, their three day delay between me putting in a new ad and it showing up makes constant refinement impossible.  Yes, their integration into Analytics sucks (I still can’t make it work right — all of my Yahoo searches are detected as organic regardless of what I do).

But, well, numbers do not lie.   My second round of Yahoo ads (I optimized the text a bit, not nearly as obsessive as I am about AdWords since the process is SO much worse) has been performing well.  How well?

Well, for comparison, in the last 7 days on Google I’ve been averaging about 50 cents CPA (cost per action = how much I pay Google for every trial download they drive to me) and a 20% CR.  Those are a little lower than I expected, but some days I’m spiking to 30 cents/35%, which is much closer to where I want to be.  Some of that is just random jittering when working with very small numbers, some of that is me constantly tweaking stuff on Google.

So, comparing by comparison, a week’s worth of my barely-optimized Yahoo ads: 29 cents.  40% conversion.  Good God.  Apparently the teachers are all over Yahoo.  Accordingly, despite the fact that I truly *hate* logging into their service to change things (whereas Google is more fun than some games I’ve paid money for… cheaper, too, come to think of it), I’ve given them a reprieve and authorization to charge me another $30 for August.  I’m still going to give Google $90 over the same period, at least if I can manage it :)

(Incidentally, this will likely end up pushing me temporarily above my $60 budget, since I currently have about $15 in net expenditures.  Counting ad expenses is a mess, though, one of those things they much teach you in business school: do you expense the ad when the click comes in?  Or when you mentally commit yourself to spending X over a certain period?  Or when your credit card is actually charged?  I’m on-budget if you consider numbers 1 and 3 and over-budget if you use #2.)