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AdCenter open for the rest of us

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday May 4, 2006 )

I love living in Australia, but we always seem to be on the tail end of getting access to new services released in the USA.

I’m pleased to say that MSN AdCenter, MS’s PPC (Pay Per Click) service, previously a pilot program and available only to USA merchants, is now accessible to Aussies – and I assume to merchants in most other countries as well.

I only just signed up for AdCenter a few minutes ago (there’s a signup fee of $5), but I was able to get a test campaign together very quickly. I found the interface very easy to move around in and some very neat features, including:

– Target an ad to a specific day of the week
– Target an ad to a specific time of the day
– Select cities within a country/region

The first two features as a standard feature for all advertisers are unique to AdCenter at this point in time.

Why would you target an ad to a specific time of the day? Learn more in my post on dayparting.

Keyword selection, if you don’t have a list already, is very easy using the AdCenter keywords tool. It not only shows keywords and phrases entered in MSN searches recently, but the number of times the term was searched for. The interface shows you current month and previous month statistics. It’s a handy feature, but what it does reveal is the huge difference in relation to search activity compared to Yahoo and Google – for the time being :).

Bill and the boys are sinking a whole heap of dough into search, not to mention Windows Vista and IE7’s MSN Search bias, plus whispers of an unholy alliance between MSN and Yahoo – all of which should all make for some very interesting times ahead in the world of search :).

Pay Per Click isn’t something I particularly focus on at this point in time, so I was approaching it at a less than expert level. Given that, I do feel that people who are totally new to the world of PPC will find MSN’s interface less intimidating than some of the other engines.

Bidding starts at $0.05 per keyword and for some of the phrases I was interested in, I noticed that the pricing appeared to be a little bit cheaper than other networks for the top spots – for now.

AdCenter reports show not only impressions and click through rates, but supposedly the profiles of who is clicking on your ads and when they are clicking. I look forward to reviewing that data as my test campaign gets under way; should be very interesting stuff.

As for results, well, that remains to be seen – I guess I’ll know more in 24 hours :). If you’ve been using AdCenter for a while, I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with the service.

Learn more about:

Pay Per Click – a primer

Minimizing PPC costs

PPC Fraud – detection and prevention strategies


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