Adjusting Campaign Settings Like A Pro: MSN AdCenter

With the Yahoo/Bing integration just around the corner, there’s no better time to brush up on your MSN AdCenter optimization skills. In this next installment of Adjusting Campaign Settings Like A Pro, we’re going to walk through the best practices of MSN AdCenter settings.

To access your campaign settings, follow these steps:

1. Log in to your MSN AdCenter account, and navigate to the “Campaigns” tab on the menu bar:

Campaigns tab in the MSN menu bar

2. Select the campaign that you would like to edit settings for.
3. Next to the campaign name, you’ll see a link that says “Change Settings.” Click it.

Change Settings Link

Follow these steps, and you’re in!

MSN doesn’t have many options for campaign settings, but there are still some useful tweaks you can make.

Campaign Settings

Here, you can edit the name of the campaign. Pick something that will help you remember the contents of the campaign, and it’s intended purpose (lead generation, e-commerce, etc.). I also like to tag new campaigns with a date code (i.e. 07-04-10) to let me know when the campaign started.

You can also toggle conversion tracking on and off via checkbox. You should always be using conversion tracking in PPC campaigns, so make sure this box is checked. You still have to install conversion code, though – you won’t get any statistics until that task is completed, even if you do check the box in your settings.

Budget Settings

Here, you can set your campaign budget. MSN offers two options, setting budget by month or by day. Setting it by day is good if you need to test out budget points when you’re not yet sure how much traffic you’re going to get. Once you figure out an average daily spend, you can set your budget to monthly.

There are two very important options here as well. You can choose to divide your budget across the month, or spend it until it’s depleted. If you’re on a limited budget, you may want to divide it across the month. This will ensure that your ads get even coverage throughout the month, even if you have a spike in click traffic one day that could potentially eat up your monthly budget. You might lose short-term clicks, but at least you’ll have ad coverage for the entire month. If you’re not so concerned about how much money you spend, then “spend until depleted” is the way to go. This ensures that you get maximum ad coverage, since MSN won’t be worrying about how to ration out your ad impressions to stay within your budget.

Campaign Targeting

In this section, you can change your targeting options for ad display. You can target by location, day of week, time of day, gender/age, and device.

In MSN, you can set your geotargeting settings to target countries, states, metro areas, or cities. Unfortunately, you can’t do custom targets or radii from a specific location. Hopefully they’ll change this after the search partnership goes through, and they can catch up to what Google has been doing for years now.

Time settings can be useful if you know that your target audience is only active at certain hours or on certain days. If you’re targeting business decision makers, 9-5 on Monday through Friday might be a good choice. Think about when your target audience is likely to be online, and then adjust your settings accordingly.

I’ve already explained why web demographics suck before, so I’ll just say use gender and age targeting at your own risk. Device targeting is a lot more straightforward, though. With this option, you can target your ads to computers, smartphones, or both. This is great if you want to make a mobile-targeted campaign, or if you want to eliminate traffic from busy mobile users who aren’t likely to convert on your multi-step widescreen conversion process.

Campaign Exclusions

This is where you put your negative keywords for the campaign, and your negative sites if you’re running a campaign with content network distribution. Look over your search query reports and placement reports carefully for sources of bad traffic. Once you figure out the search queries and/or placements that are costing you money without generating revenue, put them here so that your ads won’t show up on them ever again.

And there you have it. MSN doesn’t have many campaign setting options now, but perhaps we’ll see some interesting changes after the Microsoft/Yahoo search alliance goes through.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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2 Responses to Adjusting Campaign Settings Like A Pro: MSN AdCenter

  1. Aric Jorgan says:

    Hi, I use Adcenter today, but i am getting my ads not shown even if I am ranking 2-3rd according to the adcenter campaign information… how can that be? Why aren’t my ads showing up?

    • If you’re just doing Bing searches to find your ads, then I wouldn’t use that as a guide for your ads showing. If you’re getting stats in your AdCenter interface, your ads are showing, so there’s no need for concern.

      Your budget might be too low, your bids might be too low, or you may not have the right geo targets set up. There are a lot of reasons why an ad might not be showing as much as you’d like. Take another look at your campaign settings and you might find something amiss.