Why Use Microsoft AdCenter?

I’ll admit that I spend a lot of my time talking about Google AdWords here at PPC Without Pity. Since it’s the big dog of the pay per click marketing space, it probably deserves the most attention. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore all of your advertising options. Microsoft AdCenter does offer a pretty decent product, even though it’s nowhere near the traffic driver that AdWords is. Here are a few compelling reasons why you should be spending some of your PPC dollars with Microsoft:

1. AdCenter reaches about 30% of U.S. search engine users – Numbers differ depending on who you get them from, but most search engine surveys agree that Bing and Yahoo combined claim about 30% of U.S. search engine market share. While Google is standing strong at about 65%, that’s still a pretty sizable chunk of search engine users. Remember, AdCenter serves ads to both Bing and Yahoo users after the 2010 search alliance, so if you’re not running PPC ads in AdCenter, you’re missing out on traffic from two major search engines.

2. You’ll probably get a lower cost per conversion – Many PPC managers (including myself) have observed that Microsoft AdCenter tends to drive a significantly lower cost per acquisition than Google AdWords, both before the search alliance and after the search alliance. You can get this because advertising with Microsoft is much less competitive than advertising on Google. Almost everyone who does PPC does it on Google – that means you’ve got a lot more competitors in each keyword auction. Sure, you’ll get a lot less traffic than you would with Google, buy you’ll get a much better ROI with the traffic that you do get from AdCenter.

3. Importing your Google account into AdCenter is stupidly easy. – I remember a time when Microsoft still liked to pretend that they were a head-to-head competitor with AdWords, as if you had to choose between one or the other. Thankfully, they gave up on that nonsense and decided to position themselves as a service complementary to Google instead. Since that change, they’ve made it a lot easier to transition elements from AdWords to AdCenter. I mean, right on AdCenter’s homepage they have a link that explicitly states you can import data from a Google AdWords account. That may be a little humiliating for them to admit, but that’s good news for us PPC managers. Your Excel template may take a little massaging to get it to work right, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than creating a brand-new AdCenter account.

4. AdCenter has a lot of the same tools that make AdWords great – Conversion tracking? Check. Desktop editor? Check. Keyword research tools? Check. AdCenter’s selection of tools isn’t as robust as what Google offers, but you’ve got more than enough to get the job done.

So there you have it. Four compelling reasons to make Microsoft AdCenter a part of your advertising arsenal. I’m not encouraging anyone to ditch Google by any stretch of the imagination. But if you want to pick up a couple extra conversions on the cheap, AdCenter is the way to go.

Editors note: Adjust your calendars, I’m switching to posting from Sunday mornings to Mondays at noon, starting with this post.

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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