Ever try Yahoo! Stream ads? Here’s what happened in our test

Our Yahoo! rep reached out to tell us about Yahoo’s new native advertising product, Stream ads.

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They look almost organic, but are created just like regular PPC ads with a headline, body, destination url, and bid. You can upload an image.

So we took advantage of the free $25 credit to get started, choosing to promote our “done for you” Facebook ads service for small business.

You can get their free $25 credit, too.
Use the promo code WELCOME at admanager.yahoo.com.

Making ads
If you’ve created AdWords ads before, this will feel familiar.
Here’s a sample ad I made.

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The square image size is small and non-standard, so you can’t reuse your regular Facebook creatives. If you’re testing for the first time, I’d recommend using your profile images.

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The interface is easy to use- perhaps too simple.
The phone number is all over the place, if you still have questions.

Targeting and budget
Next, select who you want to target and how much you want to spend.

If you’re used to Facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn ads, you might be disappointed to see you only get city and gender-level targeting. No interest, connection targeting, custom audiences, conversion optimization, url parameters, or Power Editor.

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There is no ad group feature here, for rotation of images against copy.
This is meant to be simple, such that anyone can use their self-serve tool.

The final step is to put in your credit card.

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Put in WELCOME to get your $25 credit.
You have to fund an ADDITIONAL $25 to turn your account on.
So now your account balance is $50– the $25 for free and whatever you put in on top.

Careful here, since the automatic reload option is on. I’d set this to “off” until you know this is working for you.

Now log in with your Yahoo! credentials and you’re done.

The Results
24 hours later I eagerly checked the results.

The reporting interface showed I had just one click and had run out of money.
Were that accurate, then this campaign yielded a $50 CPC.

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But it turns out that reporting is on a 24 hour lag.
This is not like AdWords or Facebook ads, where you have data only minutes old.
Makes optimization tricky, since you could be bleeding a whole day without knowing it.

Fortunately, we drove 65 clicks, which is an average of 35 cents a click.

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We weren’t able to target interests, connections, or anything beyond major city area (DMA), remember. And with no conversion tracking, Yahoo! has no way of knowing who converted or how to optimize to more conversions.

That said, we checked the video plays in our Wistia account and saw 12 video plays in the Minneapolis area, which we targeted.

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The Verdict
While we didn’t drive any sales on this small test (we didn’t expect any sales), we did see some promising signs:

  • 10 of the 12 people who watched the video saw it through to the end.
    Not bad for a one minute video.
  • 12 of the 65 visitors to the landing page watched the video.
    That’s 18%, which is a bit lower than the 26% average we normally get.

Overall, not bad for a simple product that doesn’t allow much targeting.

Is this something you’d want to try for your business?

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, CNN, Fox News, and CBS Evening News.

He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo. He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as the London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70-mile ultramarathon.

Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.

You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com