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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

MSN adCenter Review Complete With Screenshots



Wanna MSN adCenter Account?
I have been lucky enough to have been given,err, obtained access to Microsoft's new Pay-Per-CLick management console, AdCenter, and I thought I would give you a little sneak peak inside before the actual preview gets rolled out. A preview of the preview if you will.

After a few minutes of poking around you come to realize this is very similar to the Google Adwords interface. The interface is clean, basic and very easy navigate, I actually favor it over the Adwords interface. Signup was a breeze and only took a few minutes as the interface is very user friendly which is a huge plus to lesser experienced pay-per-click advertisers. Another feature I like right off the bat, is the ability to add multiple accounts under one login, this is a God send for us Account Managers who handle multiple accounts.

Adding Orders, Adcenter's version of GOogle Adgroups, is a breeze and gives you a full set up matching options which you can define to each keyword. The keyword research tool is also nice, not only giving you last months searches on a particular term and other relevant keywords, but you are also given this months traffic for these keywords. This keyword tool also allows you to break each keyword into charts showing trends on time of traffic, gender, and geotargeted information.

Maybe the most impressive feature for the whole Adcenter setup is the ability to target your ads. Adcenter provides you with the controls to target age demographics, gender demographics, country/state/city demographics, and time ranges which your ads are most effective.

For example: You sell cantaloupe online. Your research has shown to you that men the ages 26-30 in Kalamazoo, Michigan buy the most cantaloupes but only during 11pm-3am hours. Adcenter will let you target your orders to 26-30 year old men in Kalamazoo, Michigan during the hours of 11pm - 3am. How this targeting works is you can set an additional amount to increase your bids in hopes of increasing the amount of clicks your ad recieves from this demographic at this specific time.

This feature lets you target your ideal 'buyer profile' and will really benefit business savy account owners who understand their businesses while making statistical analysis of your web traffic even more vitale then ever before.

The keyword price estimation tool is very useful because you will be able to gauge how much you will be paying for your position. The only thing missing from this is how many clicks you are estimated, but simple math can figure that out from the given information. While I haven't dug too far deep into the reporting aspect, you are given a variety of options which will more then satisfy the report junkie. One of the nicest reporting features is the ability to edit reports you have previously created, a feature unavailable currently in Adwords.

From first use the Adcenter looks and acts amazing, but its not without its faults. My biggest gripe, if you can call it that is the end date feature, sure it is useful, but the inability to type in an end date and be forced to use the GUI to enter a date is a little annoying. If I want to select a date say 20 years from now, I have to scroll through 20 years worth of months, not very fun or efficient.

Also, Adcenter is finicky as to when it wants to work with Mozilla FireFox, so be prepared to dust off IE. Currently my only other problem with the Adcenter is the lack of help documentation. I believe they really should have more of those green question marks on all of the features, because being a brand new platform, I would want to make it as easy as possible for people to use effectively. What good are all these features if Joe User doesn't know how to use them properly?

Overall the system is mostly intuitive and I believe advertisers will enjoy the plethora of features offered, after all it is still in beta and this is a preview of the preview, so I think its safe to assume they will address some of these issues.

Screenshots are way too many to be put in this post. I'll provide them in a separate pdf in a few minutes.

By Jason Dowdell at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

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