I’ve blogged before about how Google AdWords can track revenue within the AdWords interface, without relying on Google Analytics. You can do the same for Yahoo Sponsored Search.Yahoo Revenue Tracking

A note about why you might not want to only use Google Analytics to report revenue: Google Analytics attributes a conversion to “last touch” while Google AdWords and Yahoo Sponsored Search attribute it to “first touch.” What that means is if someone came to your website on a Monday through a paid ad, and didn’t buy anything, then returned a week later (either through a bookmark and manually typing in your URL) and bought something, Google Analytics would count that conversion as a Direct referral (the last way they came to your site), while AdWords and Sponsored Search would attribute it to PPC (the first way they came to your site).

It’s not a big deal when the vast majority of your visitors order on their first visit, but becomes a big deal when a large percentage of them don’t. I have several clients where over 50% of their visitors don’t buy on that first visit, which makes PPC look like it doesn’t perform that well. Once you factor in those “first touch” conversions, PPC certainly is a much more important piece of the marketing puzzle.

So back to how you track revenue in Yahoo Sponsored Search… I have to give Yahoo credit – they beat Google on this by including revenue right in the normal screens you use to manage your Yahoo Sponsored Search campaigns. Google only reports revenue on their actual reports, which makes it more of a pain to manage; Not impossible, just not as easy to analyze and then make quick changes.

To track Yahoo Sponsored Search revenue, you’ll just need to add one more tiny bit of code to your conversion tracking. Replace where I have ORDER.SUBTOTAL with your dynamically generated Order Subtotal field into this line of your Yahoo Sponsored Search Analytics code (You can also do Order Total, but I recommend doing the Subtotal which excludes tax and shipping, for a more accurate picture of your revenue.):

window.ysm_customData.conversion = “transId=,currency=,amount=ORDER.SUBTOTAL“;

That’s it. Pretty simple and pretty powerful. Now you can actually see what kind of revenue your Yahoo Sponsored Search campaigns are actually generating, and then make better informed decisions about where your PPC advertising dollars should be spent.

A note on this: I attempted to do it for a client that uses a Volusion cart and processes credit cards offline (meaning they don’t actually process the credit card at the time of order, but do it manually at a later time), but this won’t work for them. I’m guessing that this will hold true for any shopping cart; if you don’t process credit cards in real-time, it won’t work. In fact, for this client, it also prevented the number of conversions from tracking.

One last note: Unfortunately, MSN AdCenter does not have the same functionality. Here’s hoping they get that solved before they take over supplying Yahoo’s paid ads.

If you need help getting Yahoo Sponsored Search Revenue Tracking implemented and/or analyzed, contact a reputable PPC management company for assistance.