What You'll Find in This Article:
Page 1: How the two platforms stack up
Page 2: Reach, top-level campaign settings, account structure, ad copy and rotation
Page 3: Content targeting, ad formats, editorial review process, agency master accounts
Page 4: Matching options, control over distribution, dayparting
Page 5: Power tools, click fraud, reporting, trademark issues
Page 6: Relevancy ranking, usability, the winner
Page 7: Conclusion: How we got here
Mona Elesseily is director, marketing strategy, Page Zero Media, and the co-author of this article.
At one time, GoTo.com (later Overture, later acquired by Yahoo!, and now Yahoo Search Marketing) was the only game in town if you wanted to bid on keywords that would place your text ad near associated search results. That seems like a long time ago, as Google now dominates this $15 billion industry.
In 2006, Yahoo's public image -- to say nothing of stock price -- suffered when it announced it was missing the target launch date for its new search marketing platform (code named Panama) that was to replace outdated Overture.
To many in the search marketing community, it seemed like more of the same from Yahoo: a pretend commitment to clean up an inefficient, buggy platform. Would they ever come through? And would it be a major overhaul or a minor patch job?
As it turned out, Yahoo missed its deadline by only a few weeks. We were part of the first group invited to demo the platform live, so we were able to see firsthand that some promised features really worked as promised. But at the time, Yahoo hadn't even released its new ad-ranking algorithm.
So did Yahoo cry wolf again? Would migration to the new platform cause real-life collapse? Would they address the cosmetic and usability issues they said they deliberately deferred fixing in order to roll out the product in time to stave off major public relations disaster?
The company had a lot riding on the outcome, but in the meantime, Google kept collecting feedback from its users and improving the AdWords product.
Here's our take on how the two platforms stack up now that Panama has fully launched in the U.S., Canada and has had time to implement new features and minor fixes.