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If you are looking for another way to expand your search marketing program, Microsoft’s adCenter may be good option. AdCenter is Microsoft’s Live Search pay-per-click (PPC) management application. As the fourth most trafficked search engine in the world, Live Search has the potential to be a high performing search marketing medium. Features of Microsoft’s adCenter include campaign importation templates, immediate editorial feedback on keywords and ads, specific ad targeting options and updated reporting capabilities. The implementation of these features brings adCenter closer to the caliber of Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing consoles. There are however, a few things to keep in mind when using Microsoft adCenter to manage your Live Search PPC campaigns. The adCenter console operates very much the same way Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing do, making it an easy transition to getting started in adCenter. If you already have PPC campaigns in Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing, you can easily import the campaigns and keywords into adCenter through the use of Microsoft Excel templates. The templates can be downloaded from adCenter, and used to help format all of your existing campaign information and keyword lists from other PPC vendors. It has taken a while for Microsoft to catch up with Google and Yahoo!, but Microsoft finally introduced an immediate editorial feedback function in adCenter. The function makes it easier to create ads that meet the technical requirements for Microsoft’s editorial guidelines. AdCenter instantly validates ads or keywords by checking each ad to ensure it meets the following four conditions:
  1. All of the required fields are complete (e.g. ad title, ad text and destination URL).
  2. None of the fields exceed character limits.
  3. The destination URL is formatted correctly.
  4. The display URL is formatted correctly.
Passing the immediate editorial feedback validation, however, still does not guarantee that your ad will be displayed. Your ad must still meet the content requirements in Microsoft’s editorial guidelines. Content editorial guidlines cover ad characteristics such as the type of product or service being advertised and the use of trademarks in ads. Microsoft says that newly created ads that are approved usually become active within a few minutes, and that your ad was probably approved if you don’t receive a rejection email within two hours of your ad being submitted. Microsoft hypes adCenter’s dynamic text ad and incremental bidding options, which are intended to help you further customize your ads and target them at specific times in order to increase click-through-rates (CTRs). Dynamic text ads use keyword variables to display a customized ad that is more likely to appeal to potential customers. Incremental bidding allows you to bid an additional amount beyond your keywords bid in order to increase the position of your ads and target customers by location, day of week, time of day, customer age, or customer gender. While Microsoft’s claim is true that dynamic text ads and incremental bidding can increase CTRs, it isn’t guaranteed. You should carefully examine your ad campaigns by evaluating keywords, keyword match type settings, ad position performance and budget before implementing either of these targeting options. AdCenter’s reporting capabilities are typical of what Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing offer. Reports are categorized by report group. Each report group contains reports that are related to a specific aspect of an account. Campaign performance reports can be viewed for an entire account, campaign, ad group, ad, or a specific keyword. Custom report options include a drag and drop feature to reorder custom report columns and the ability to include totals and averages at the bottom of reports. Recently, Microsoft unveiled their adExcellence program, which provides advertisers with the opportunity to hone their adCenter skills and become recognized as an adCenter industry expert. WebShare is one of the first companies in the world to become an adExcellence Member. Members of the adExcellence program must complete classroom training and demonstrate their knowledge by passing an exam. In addition to being an adExcellence Member, WebShare (Now Cardinal Path) is also an Adwords Qualified Company and Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador. We are recognized as a premier pay-per-click management company in the search marketing industry, and offer a wide range of PPC services that can help you increase the performance of your PPC campaigns.