AdCenter: PPC’s (not so evil) Step-Sibling

Paid Search

August 27, 2012 by

Microsoft AdCenterWhen talking about PPC, it’s not uncommon to constantly reference Google, AdWords, Google Places, Google Analytics, etc. - you get the idea. After all, they’re the big players in the PPC industry and have continually been a successful source for client’s PPC efforts. As a result, search marketers generally recommend starting with PPC campaigns in Google and gaining momentum before eventually launching into MSN. When taking the leap from Google exclusive PPC campaigns to MSN campaigns there are a few things to keep in mind.

Before shifting all your eggs into the other basket, start with duplicating your top campaigns from Google into AdCenter. AdCenter actually provides one-click upload capabilities for such a task. Download your top campaigns from Adwords Editor and upload that exact file to your account.

Speaking of bulk upload tools, AdCenter also has a version of Adwords Editor allowing for fast, bulk optimizations or campaign builds. If you decide to run campaigns on MSN I highly suggest downloading the Microsoft AdCenter desktop tool.

Not all features in Google are available in MSN. And if they are, it’s safe to say that you won’t be able to implement it yourself. It will require the use of an MSN or AdCenter support person. Take for instance Remarketing in Google. Often times, Remarketing is the top performing campaign in Google. In order to get the AdCenter equivalent (called Remessaging) you’ll need to work with the help center in order to get it activated in your account whereas Google you can experiment and set it up yourself. Remessaging also requires a minimum spend.

UTM codes will save you in AdCenter. Because AdCenter isn’t a Google product, it isn’t fully integrated into Analytics the way your Google Adwords campaigns are. Meaning if you want to attribute any sort of goal, lead, or sale back to an MSN campaign, you’ll have to tag the campaign’s landing pages with a UTM code that labels it ‘MSN’ or ‘AdCenter’ or whatever label you want to use to distinguish it. Yes, the AdCenter interface includes conversion tracking by adding a small piece of code on specific pages, but in my experience, it’s easier to see all leads in one place like Analytics and report from there.

The resulting traffic from AdCenter will vary. Bing and Google are used by very different users. Historically, a majority of MSN/Bing users skew older. Keep that in mind when looking at results and bear in mind your product or services.

For the most part, many of the Google best practices and tricks of the trade can be applied to AdCenter. Daily optimizations like bid management and ad copy refresh should be performed on a regular basis just like you would with any other PPC campaign. Moving forward, we’ll likely see AdCenter take larger strides at making the user interface more manageable and more efforts with customer service to increase user satisfaction with MSN/Bing products.

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