I’ve made no secret of my view on Yahoo’s Panama project: I’m rooting for it, because for any number of good reasons, the world needs at least one more scaled search monetization option beyond AdWords/Adsense. Last week Gian Fulgoni, the founder of Comscore, pinged me with some interesting (but embargoed) news: Comscore has been tracking clickthrough and conversion in the first couple of weeks of Panama, and the numbers looked encouraging. He checked his numbers with Yahoo, and together they agreed to release the news early this morning.
The release is here…From it:
Using the week ending February 4, 2007 as a baseline for sponsored search click-through rates (i.e. total clicks on sponsored search ads divided by total searches) before the ranking model launched, comScore studied the two subsequent weeks of click-through data to evaluate the impact of the new ranking model. comScore’s data indicate that for each of the two weeks subsequent to the launch (ending February 11, 2007 and February 18, 2007), Yahoo! Sites experienced a noticeable lift in its sponsored search click-through rate. The week ending February 11 saw a 5-percent increase, while the week ending February 18 showed a 9-percent jump.
Another anticipated result of Yahoo!’s new ranking model is a shift in composition of total click volume from algorithmic to sponsored. The “sponsored click composition” metric (i.e. sponsored clicks as a percentage of total clicks) is critical in understanding Yahoo!’s success in improving both monetization and user experience. qSearch data show positive gains in this area, with sponsored clicks representing 10.6 percent and 11.1 percent of total click volume in the weeks ending February 11 and February 18, respectively. These data represent increases of 0.5 and 1.0 points in the weeks following the new ranking model launch.
Comscore asked me to comment on this, my incredibly insightful response: “While still in its early stages, any good news for Panama is good news for Yahoo! – and this early study shows plenty of good news.”
Yahoo’s stock response can be tracked here. And because I imagine folks will ask, no, I don’t own shares, and I make a point of not trading stocks in companies that I write about.