Starting around 3 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, a group of Yahoo executives will begin shuttling among three war rooms at the company's search marketing unit here.
Reports NY Times. "here" is Burbank, California. And the event is launch of Panama, Yahoo!'s new ad system, one of the most significant products to be launched by the company in last few years. Though Google has a huge lead in the lucrative advertising market, Panama is Yahoo!'s best shot at closing the gap.
Anticipating the launch of Panama, Google has raised the commission rates for both its AdSense and AdWords program by $150. On Yahoo!'s part the project has been much delayed reflecting the slow pace of reaction that has lately characterized Yahoo!. Though second in overall market share, the gap between first ranked Google and second ranked Yahoo! is significantly wide. Yahoo! grew complacent after its takeover of Overture in 2003 paid off good returns.
It took some time for Yahoo! to notice how Google was changing the online adscape with its continuous improvisations. However, Panama is much anticipated by both advertisers and the company itself. Though the first part of the program went into operation in mid October, next few weeks would be crucial as the old system is not completely defunked. As Panama slowly replaces the old system, problems can crop up.
Panama brings a host of new features to advertisers, such as ability to aim ads geographically and digital dashboard to manage the campaigns. These features are already made available by both Google and MSN. So effectively, Yahoo! is just catching up.
What's new is a "quality index" which provides advertisers with insight as to how an ad will be ranked by the system and some other sophisticated tools that the company has not spoken about yet. Tim Cadogan, vice president of Yahoo! Search Marketing said, “Panama is a foundation for us to start sewing together all our advertising assets,” probably meaning audio, video and mobile ads.
According to the NY Times report,
the company ran a test in which searches originating on the West Coast ran the new ad ranking system. The team started at 3 a.m., and by lunchtime, the engineers gathered in the war rooms, many with bags under their eyes, and appeared satisfied things were running smoothly.