April 17, 2014

PPC Ads on Yahoo Answers Are All Messed Up

In the world of PPC advertising Google is the 800 lb. gorilla. However, Yahoo has always kept a strong presence in the space due to their content network. Just the other day I was searching through some answers on Yahoo Answers and started seeing some interesting PPC ads (interesting for the wrong reasons).

Special Characters Not Rendering

One of the first things you learn in PPC is that special characters are your friend. The word “and” takes 3 characters, but an ampersand (&) only takes 1 character. Therefore you see a lot of ampersands in PPC ad text. But take a look at this:



If you look closely you’ll notice that the & symbol has been rendered as & which is the html code for an ampersand. And to compound the problem, it then truncates the ad text with an ellipsis so you don’t see the call to action on the ad. Really?

Apostrophes Too?

I thought it was just a fluke result, but kept seeing it more and more throughout Yahoo Answers. But it isn’t just ampersands that they can’t seem to get right. They can’t get apostrophes right either. Behold:



I’m sure that “Kohl’s®” appreciates their brand name being rendered with an ampersand, a pound sign and the number 39 thrown in there.

This is the kind of thing that drives a PPC manager crazy. We’re under constant pressure to increase CTR and QS, boost conversion rates and maintain high ROIs. We meticulously write ad copy that evokes emotion, enumerates benefits and contains a call to action (all in 95 characters). The last thing we need is your ad platform to screw up our ad by rendering common punctuation like ampersands and apostrophes as gibberish HTML code. So Yahoo, please, get it together!

About Robert

Conversion rate optimization and PPC wizard. If I'm not out playing ultimate frisbee or golf you may find me hiking, skiing or mountain biking.

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