Yahoo! Search Marketing rolled out its new advertising platform, dubbed Panama, today.

The biggest leap forward with Panama is that Yahoo has greatly simplified the process of signing up and purchasing CPC advertising on its properties. This is great news for all marketers.

Panama basically boils down the process to down to five simple steps, which means most folks will be up and running in no time flat.

So, to try this out, I thought I might try and buy some advertising for this blog. Here’s what I found.

Step 1. Choose a Geographic Location

I chose Entire Market (United States and Canada). I figured I might as well shoot wide – but you could refine your location to target a particular geographic area. Panama lets you plug in a zip code and a radius search to localize your ad even more specifically.

Step 2. Pick Your Keywords

Quite often when I get to this point I start to draw a blank about which keywords I’m going to choose. Thankfully Panama’s algorithm lets you type in some words that describe your product or service and it returns a number of suggested keyword combinations for you.

For the purposes of this experiment I used the terms ‘real estate’, ‘real estate marketing’ and ‘real estate consulting’ (hey, why not?). Out of the list Panama gave me, I picked the following 16 keywords:

real estate marketing tool
real estate agent marketing
real estate marketing idea
real estate marketing online
realtor marketing
real estate advertising
real estate advertising marketing
real estate web site
real estate internet marketing
real estate marketing strategy
real estate marketing plan
real estate marketing technique
real estate marketing system
advertising for realtor
marketing real estate web site
real estate lead generation

Step 3. Set Your Daily Advertising Budget

I figured I’d spend about $4 a day ($120 a month). Not extravagant by any means, but realistic given what little revenue this blog generates. I suspect this is in line with what a single Realtor would be spending as well, with large producers or Brokers spending significantly more.

Panama tells me that’ll let me get a maximum bid of $0.85 and result in 99,330 monthly impressions and 197 monthly clicks.

Of course this will vary considerably depending on what keywords you select in step 2.

Step 4. Create Your Ad

Here you can let your creative juices fly. Unfortunately for me, it’s late in the day and I’m pretty wiped so this is the best I could come up with. Hopefully you’ll be more successful.


Step 5. Activate Your Ad

Punch in your billing information and off you go! And this is where I stopped.

I really like Panama’s ease of use and I think its localization options will be especially valuable to real estate marketers.

My biggest concern is that I’m not sure it’s the right place to be spending my money. Just looking at my own traffic logs, I get barely any traffic at all from Yahoo’s search engine right now. Traffic from Google dwarfs it nearly 10 to 1. And that’s the crux of the problem.

No matter how many improvements it rolls out to its platform, Yahoo will be the perennial second placer behind Google AdWords. Despite pioneering the PPC concept (when it was Overture), Yahoo just can’t compete to the depth of Google’s network and the stranglehold it has on search.

I suppose if you can afford to add Yahoo to your PPC advertising plan, or if you’re experienced enough with AdWords and want to extend your reach, Panama will definitely make it easier to add Yahoo to your media mix.

But if you have a small budget and are just looking to dip your toes into PPC advertising, as I suspect is the case with most Realtors, I still think you’re better off sticking with Google.

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