Lee Odden

Yahoo Adds Quality Index to Search Marketing Ads

Yahoo! has announced that on Feb 5th, they will be introducing a quality score to the Yahoo Search Marketing ad system, “Panama”. To date, placement of ads on Yahoo and their network have been based on bid price alone. From the press release:

“The quality of an ad will be determined by its historical performance in the new system and its expected performance relative to other ads displayed at the same time. Ads of higher quality will generally receive better placement on the results page.”

Advertisers will be able to see the “quality index” for their ads within Panama along with an estimated average position and estimated forecast of clicks for their ad campaigns, based on budget allocation and ad quality.

Google AdWords also offers a quality score that measures quality and relevance of ads to determine the minimum cost per click and is based on clickthrough rate, relevance of ad text, keyword, and landing page.

Adding a measure of quality to Yahoo’s Panama search advertising system brings the hopes of an improved user experience, better quality sales/leads for advertisers and an improved overall marketplace according to Tim Cadogan, Yahoo!‚Äôs vice president, search marketing.

Panama was a big jump for Yahoo and I think the continued rollout of enhancements as well as attention to customer service will tell the tale as to how successful the transition and system performance will be for advertisers.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Simon Heseltine says

    So Lee, is it only a few of us that have been able to see the quality index score up until now? I’ve seen it since we switched to Panama in December. I put out a pic of it at the bottom of this post – http://searchenginetigers.com/2007/01/yahoo-panama-supports-dynamic-keyword.html

  2. Avatar Tech Mentat says

    The desire to have relevant advertisers who gives users a positive unique experience is commendable. However, I can’t shake the feeling that using performance history is a cheap solution for determining quality (same feeling for organic search). I understand the logic behind it and the practice(of weighing value by history) has been around for ages (i.e. a credit report) but I think it hurts the new budding business or the mom-and-pop flower shop that only wants to advertise during Valentine

  3. This is great news. A sound and long overdue move by Yahoo. It should help increase Yahoo’s overall ad network quality and move them into the running again. Here’s a short take on what some of these changes will mean.

  4. This is great. I haven’t been much of a fan of Yahoo (or MSN), in comparison to AdWords, but hopefully this will help gain the acceptance of Yahoo Ads for more consumers. By weighting advertisers based on performance it really motivates them to write great, appropriate, targeted ads.

  5. tech mentat, I was wondering about the same thing. For example, Google uses landing page information as part of their quality score and it doesn’t look like Yahoo will in this most recent update. I will check with my Yahoo contacts for more info.

  6. Hi Simon, I’m not sure about that. I would assume advertisers could see the info as soon as they upgrade. Maybe Yahoo is not acting on the quality index information until Feb 5, but showing it now.

  7. Yes I got an email from yahoo describing this. IMO I think google has been doing this for a lot longer but just not telling people about it. I think its a great way to put a quality product in front of a user without having to pay more.

  8. That’s a good question Carrie. It was my understanding that you had to opt in for your ads to be shown on YPN sites. It shouldn’t happen automatically. Or did you opt in at one time and now you can’t get out?

  9. Avatar Carrie Hill says

    Hi Lee,

    My concern with this change is the YPN – Publisher network has been so unpredictable and messy – i have ads for a B&B in Florida showing up on HotGirls(dot)com and Yahoo has told me time & again they cannot exclude my ads from that site… are the lack of click throughs going to affect my placement/cpc because of these bogus publisher sites?

    I havent done a lot w/ Panama – our clients are upgrading right now, but I dont see where we can opt-out of the YPN. What do you think?


  10. Avatar Carrie Hill says

    Hmmm…interesting. Most of these accounts were set up by the client and we’ve taken them over – so that is entirely possible. I’ll call Yahoo one more time and see if they’ll answer that question.

    Thanks for the direction!
    ~Carrie Hill

  11. The word from those I have talked is that Panama is going to crush Google.


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