SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

New Yandex PPC feature: Autoexpand tool in Yandex.Direct

It looks like Yandex team is working hard these months on changes and additions to its Yandex PPC platform Yandex.Direct! Just lately, they rolled out the mobile bid management and added the keyword productivity index.  And now they introduce a brand new tool for “autoexpansion” of keywords which will automatically add keywords to your Yandex PPC campaigns, selecting them according to specific criteria. From last week, this feature is enabled by default, so be sure you really want it! Read on to learn what keywords may soon pop up in your keyword lists and if it’s something for you.

The Autoexpand keyword phrases tool is said to add statistically efficient keyword phrases to Yandex PPC ads from the same or similar categories.

To check your Autoexpansion settings, just go to the Campaign Settings → Show advanced settings:autoexpandAnd as I told earlier, this new tool is already enabled by default, so that’s also where you have a chance to disable it if you’re not into automated keywords at the moment :)

Well, how does the Autoexpand tool select the keywords? It sounds quite simple – it takes into account three kinds of statistics:

  • Your own keyword stats,
  • Keywords from other advertisers working in the same category, and
  • Stats from Yandex.Metrica (conversions and bounce rates) if it’s installed on a website and linked to Yandex PPC campaigns.

However, the tool begins to work not across all the categories – autoexpanding will work only for Yandex PPC ads with the most popular and rich in statistical data categories, such as furniture, garments, cars, etc. It means that keywords from categories that don’t attract too much traffic won’t be added even when the Autoexpand tool is enabled. Too bad Yandex doesn’t provide us with any list of specific categories for which Autoexpand will actually work, but time will tell! Most probably, new keywords from the Autoexpand will be appearing gradually and we’ll follow it closely in our Yandex PPC campaigns to share with you.

To analyze statistics from the Autoexpand, go to My campaigns → Request reports and check “Automatically added phrases report” (2nd option):

Autoexpand report

In a way, Autoexpansion reminds an already existing feature of Yandex.Direct – impressions for additional relevant keywords, which is comparable to the broad match in Google. However, while enabling ‘additional relevant keywords’ option gives a great deal of related keyword variations (and honestly, this feature can easily create a mess in your keyword list, so think twice before you use it!), with the Autoexpansion tool we are promised that the selection criteria will be much stricter and the keywords will be much closer in meaning to the original ones.

TIP! As much as we like new features, it’s important to not leave your keywords to their own fate for one simple reason: Autoexpansion tool is still not fully functional and almost not tested, so in case you leave it enabled, it’s better to keep an eye on any sudden changes in the budget and traffic of your Yandex PPC campaigns due to the keywords added.

Let’s say, not all the advertisers out there are happy with this new feature as they fear it might take away their competitive edge – the expert selection of the best performing keywords. But we rather hope that the Autoexpand tool will just help both Yandex SEM experts and beginners reach even more of their target users and compete with each other on a higher level, which only makes it more interesting.

Have you noticed new keywords in your Yandex PPC ads yet? Let’s share it in the comments – tell in which category you work and how you like a new feature! And you’re always free to ask us any questions, whether it’s regarding Yandex PPC or our Yandex SEM services – we’d love to help!



Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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