Microsoft adCenter

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don't you just loooove microsoft? especially if you're a mac user browsing with firefox?

which hill would you like to die on? this one?..
Microsoft's PPC ad system was developed late only in November 2006, compared to Google which introduced its own Google Adwords in 2000, and Yahoo! Search Marketing which acquired Overture in 2003 (YSM accreditation program still not available in the UK though). Overture (formerly known as had been the first company to successfuly run a pay for placement search. It also supplied both MSN and Yahoo with ad content until Yahoo swallowed it up like a defenceless yum-yum in an office full of constantly hungry workers.

Being the latest to be developed, Microsoft adCenter had the benefits of learning from Google and all the other self-destructing PPC systems that came before it. in the wise words of the Internets, "despite the fact that a cloud of suspicion looms over corporate marketing initiatives, and that Microsoft is entering into a space during a turbulent and uncertain period, it does stand to benefit greatly from Google's blunders. More specifically, Microsoft's AdCenter can incorporate into its vision a degree of lattitude that will allow them to determine which hill they want to die on." (adCenter crawling over broken glass)

There are more than 90 million MSN and Live Search users.

Editorial Guidelines

  • Editorial Policy Text Lessons
  • Editorial guidelines may differ from country to country.
  • Point of Editorial Guidelines - to improve positive user/advertiser experience for everyone
  • Capitalisation should be normal (no ThINGS like THEse)
  • Special characters only usable in price and in brand names. No accents or other
  • No excessive punctuation !!!!
ad elementtext admobile ad
ad title2518
ad description7018
display url3520
destination url1022200
phone numberN/A20
business nameN/A20
  • Spelling should be correct and readable grammar.
  • & is allowed and 50%.
  • Phone numbers may be allowed in text only if it doesnt include call to action.
  • Prices mentioned must be on landing page.
  • No superlatives for call to action.
  • Adult personals and sex education materials are allowed as long as not sexually suggestive.
  • Links to adult material must be at least two clicks from your landing page.
  • No porn, escort or prostituition services, or the names of porn stars.
  • Wine, beer and food items are allowed.
  • Tobacco accessories are allowed if no tobacco is sold along with it on landing page.
  • Selling Hard alcohol, tobacco itself, and illegal drugs/paraphernalia not allowed.
  • Legal guns parts and accessories are allowed.
  • Paintball guns, stun guns, clearly marked imitation firearms, knives , traditional martial arts weapons, bows and pepper spray are allowed "as permitted by law" - depending on location and laws in those parts (ooh looks like someone is trying to cover their ass, oh its not me, its by law!! the law permits it!!!)
  • Fireworks, pyrotechnic devices, potato guns, BB guns, cannons, flares, switch blades, knuckles, military weapons and grenades are not allowed.
  • see also Firearms and fireworks
  • Hotels and casinos which offer gambling in their venues but not online
  • Poker chips and playing card items
  • Free offers only if the terms and conditions are mentioned on the ad or on the landing page
  • Online gambling, pyramid schemes and spam is not allowed no matter how many pages deep from landing page
  • Advertising for casinos and betting agencies (incl UK National Lottery) is allowed in UK provided it does not accept bets from US residents
  • No hate speech, profane terms, violence or defamatory content allowed
  • Pharmaceuticals info and devices are allowed.
  • only pharmacyCheker-verified advertisers allow.
  • Medicines Act 1968 - No prescription pharmaceuticals are allowed to be advertised in UK
  • No illegal activities/ fake docs/ descramblers allowed
  • Religious content and political advertising is allowed
  • but ads with politically religious agendas are not allowed
  • Content also cannot use "Hot Button" political issues for commercial use

editorial disapproval

if you are rejected twice you must change it. it can take up to more than 10 business days for your review to happen.

Landing Page Requirements

qualities of a good landing page

  • should load quickly and be stable
  • relevance: page should have relevant page content / keywords (not in images)
  • url: frames/session specific url should not be used or else it will be hard to access same site consistently
  • construction: under construction pages are not accepted
  • registration: no registration should be required before viewing content
  • content must be relevant and the relevant part must be in text and you must find it very easily when landing on the page

landing page behaviour

  • popups: no popups upon entrance/exit (note: will be allowed if its to ask for language/region/country preference)
  • browser buttons: backbutton cannot be disabled
  • browser dialogs: fake browser dialog box images/buttons are not allowed
  • downloads: page is not allowed to trigger automatic downloads (downloads are allowed if its user initated eg: flash)

landing page and privacy policy guidelines

  • lead generation-type businesses: if page is of the insidious sneaky lead generation/direct marketing nature, then it must follow microsoft guidelines (oh ho ho so dodgy.) PII Personally Identifiable Information.
  • must have opt out: must have explicit OPT-OUT for this or any future communication and if they select to not have you contact again you must not market to them again within the same session


acceptable trademark usage

you may use the trademark if you:

  • the owner
  • authorised affliate/reseller who distributes authentic products/svcs
  • you service or support the trademark owner's products
  • you provide information about the product (description, information)

special exceptions:

  • you offer replacement products for consumables (eg: Epson-compatible printer cartridges)
  • you are using dictionary definition of a word that may also be a trademark for different services

it it will be trademark violation if you're a competitor of the trademark term and you use it competitively. you are personally responsible to ensure your ad does not infringe. advertisers are responsible for obtaining any necessary permission on their own.

  • ALLOWED: Sentimental Movie DVDs for sale - We'll make you wet your kleenex or your money back!
  • ALLOWED: Deskjet Ink replacement system - Our inks work with Canon and Brother printers too!
  • NOT ALLOWED: Can't find your Kleenex? - Try Wipenex instead, the best tissue in the world!
  • NOT ALLOWED: Looking for Nike shoes? - We have shoes which are better than Nike!

adCenter Affilate Policy

  • microsoft only shows one ad with the same display URL per search query
  • if two advertisers have the same display URL the ad with best performing clickthru rate will be served
  • this means that the affiliate's ad may be shown over the actual trademark owner's ad -- its the responsibility of affiliate and trademark owner to settle differences if they not happy about whose ad got shown in the end.......

trademark concerns

  • remember that competitor's ads may sometimes be delivered on search query for trademarked term which is not trademark infringement but just product of broad match keyword. this is not violation of policy really.
  • go to the submit trademark concerns page and fill out the Online Trademark Concern form. you will receive and email and you can respond to it with a copy of your official form either by scanning it and emailing or mailing a photocopy of yr confirmation email.

Click Quality

  • real-time and post-click monitoring tools are provided by adCenter so you can monitor your clicks for uncharacteristic clicks in terms of
    • click volume
    • click-thru rate
    • conversion rate
  • you are not billed for low quality/invalid clicks.
  • but natural fluctuations will have to be expected as well (holidays, etc)
  • use external web tracker to understand normal traffic.
  • contact ad center support if you think u have low quality/invalid click activity.
  • provide campaign name, ad group name, ad group number, ad id number, keywords affected, and brief description of the trends from your reports/logs.
  • a support rep will contact u and your bill will be adjusted depending on outcome of investigation.

Low quality clicks

  • low commercial intent
  • unusual activity
  • clicks that are from spiders/bots/test servers

Invalid clicks

  • user navigational error
  • robotic activity
  • fraudulent activity

Setting up an account

Dynamic Text

  • dynamic text displays in bold font
  • character limits for ad components still aply and if the ad component exceeds character limit then the entire ad is just not going to be shown (Disapproved)
  • you can define defaults for all types of dynamic text: {keyword:default}, {param1:default}, {param2:default}, and {param3:default}

remember the requirements:

  • Ad titles: 25 characters
  • Ad text: 70 characters

Fresh {keyword:flowers} online All {keyword:flowers} {param2:on sale}

  • 38%!!!!!!!!!! "A customized ad is more likely to appeal to potential customers because it is more relevant to their search queries. As a result, using dynamic text can help improve the click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate of your ads. And when you use dynamic text as a placeholder, you can quickly update multiple ads simultaneously."
  • When creating an ad using dynamic text, you should also create an ad within the same ad group that does not use dynamic text. Then, if the dynamic text ad is disapproved because a {keyword} variable exceeds the limits, the ad with the static text is displayed instead.
  • More about Dynamic text
  • {keyword:default} syntax works like in google.

where "default" is a value used if the dynamic keyword violates editorial rules, then it's already in place. It works just like you would expect in Google except that the {keyword} doesn't control capitalization. {Keyword}, {KeyWord}, and {keyword} are all the same in adCenter.

  • {Keyword}
    • {MatchType}
    • {QueryString}
    • {OrderItemID}
    • {AdID}
    • {Param1}
    • {Param2}
    • {Param3}

Writing the Ad

  • It will be reviewed quickly for guidelines and usually it will just go live really fast.
  • If you haven't received a notification regarding disapproval within 2 hours, your ad was probably approved. To verify your ad has been approved, check your account to verify ad status.

Keyword Tools

  • click on Keyword research tools on the right hand side of the choose keyword box.
  • select on the checkbox in the list you get > actions > add keywords to table
  • you can search other websites for your own keyword ideas for your own list - search destination URL of your ads

negative keywords

Setting keyword match type

researching demographic info

charting keyword performance info

Content Ads

  • Content ads apply to "quality Microsoft owned properties and Participating partner sites"
    • money, real estate, encarta, travel, fox sports, lifestyle, PST, microsoft health solutions, gamezone, tech and gadgets, windows market place, expo, weather, and......... Facebook.
  • you can apply seperate keywords bids for all keywords or on content ad specifically.
  • broader segment of audience - more for brand exposure.
  • Ad group settings > Advanced settings > then you can set search vs content
  • Oh did i mention? they are text only! HAR SUCKAS.

Report Center

why use reports?

  • track advert budget/spend
  • evaluate ad performance
  • optimise campaign
  • You can generate many types of reports in report center that lets you monitor performance:
    • account performance
    • ad dynamic text performance
    • campaign performance
    • channel performance
    • destination URL performance
    • ad performance
    • keyword performance
    • ad group performance
  • The Recent Reports page displays the names of up to twenty of your most recently-generated reports.

Optimising your campaign performance

Why is my ad nowhere to be found?

  • if your ad quality rank is below the mainline threshold - will not appear on first page
  • if your ad quality rank is below minimum ad performance threshold - will not even receive impressions
  • if you cant see it, it may be because you didnt type the right query, or have set a targeting or browser setting that is not compatible with yours, dumbass
  • maybe your thing is paused, expired, or budget paused -- on either campaign or ad group level
  • maybe your ad has been disapproved

Firstly find the miscreant campaign quickly using microsoft's full text search capability at the top of any screen.

No Impressions?

  • If no ads in acccount are receiving impressions, run delivery report at account level.
  • If no ads in specific campaign are receiving impresions but ads in other campaigns are displayed, run delivery report at campaign level.
  • If no ads in specific ad grp are receiving impressions but other ads from other ad groups in campaign are displayed, run delivery report at ad group level.
  • If specific ad is not receiving impressions but other ads from the ad group are displayed, run delivery report at ad level.

ok now its been running.

  • allow abt 3 wks or 1000 impressions to accrue before you evaluate it
  • consider your advertising goals
  • always delete underperforming ads rather than editing poor performers
  • but Always leave at least two ads in each ad group - preferably one static and one dynamic text


  • improve quality/relevence of ad/landing page
  • adjust keyword match types
  • expand/narrow match to make ad more visible to right audience
  • raise bids to improve ad position
  • evaluate targetting by gender or geographic location


  • delete expensive/underperforming keywords
  • lower bids on bad keywords
  • divide ad budget over month (divide!)
  • target customers by specific day/time of week/day

Watch out for Dynamic Keywords

  • Dynamic Keyword warning: watch out for structural problems
  • branding may be better lift than dynamic sometimes as well... something it jsut sounds strange.

Handling Editorial Rejections

  • you will get an email saying what is disapproved.
  • you can change/resubmit disapproved ads, or appeal the decision

main types of rejectsion:

  • wrong display/destination url format
  • missing portion of ad
  • excessive ad text - check dynamic text
  • ad title and ad text combined must contain at least six words
  • grammar error and extra characters
  • misspelling or punctuation error
  • misspelling in ad due to misspelling in dynamic text param itself
  • excessive capitalisation
  • exclamation only allowed in ad text not title
  • prohibited formating in ad
  • phone number not allowed in text
  • ad is in wrong language which you selected for ad group
  • excessive repetition of words
  • excessive promotional language with hyperboles
  • call to action is not specific enough eg: click here
  • advertised special not prominent on landing page
  • all the restricted things shouldnt be inside anyway
  • exclusive keywords/words which infringe trademarks

adCenter Editor (ACE)

according to rumours, Microsoft has made an adCenter Editor (ACE) which is open to a small group of beta testers only by invitation. little is known of this elusive and mysterious creature. as of june 2008, few recorded sightings have been made of the slippery ACE, but usage of the ACE has been said to induce the desire to hit your head on the wall repeatedly. very dangerous. i wait with bated breath till i can try the beta.

Targeting Market Segments

  • Age & Gender
    • The data used for the demographic targeting option (age and gender) comes from information reported by MSN customers. You can target customers by age and gender so your ads are displayed more frequently to people who will be interested in them. However, you only pay the incremental bid amount for customers who meet your targeting criteria. You can target your ad to the following audience segments:
      • All age groups and both genders
      • A specific age group
      • A specific gender
    • Targeting is priced in 10 percent increments of your keyword bid. For example, if your keyword bid is $1.00 and you set an incremental bid of 10 percent, your cost per click could be as much as $1.10; if you set an incremental bid of 100 percent, your cost per click could be as much as $2.00.
    • When you target audiences by age group and gender, your ads are displayed to all customers, but you pay the extra bid amount only for clicks that come from your targeted customers.
  • Geography
    • Geographical targeting is set for a city, not the designated market area. A designated market area is typically used to gather television ratings and can be much larger than a city. At this time, Microsoft adCenter does not offer targeting by postal code or state. Microsoft adCenter determines customer location with reverse-IP address lookup to determine the customer's location.
    • Some city borders may cross into other states. For example, Cincinnati , Ohio , is located on the border of Kentucky . When an advertiser targets Cincinnati , the advertiser will also be targeting residents of Kentucky who are located in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
  • Day of week
  • Time of day
    • if you target say for example france at a certain time on the signup form, you will be targeting it at the time given at their time zone of course, not your time.


you can either:

  • divide budget across month
  • spend budget until depleted


  • monthly budget (number of times shown) and keyword bids (position) work together
  • set bids by keyword match

set max bid for all words set individual bids set incremental bids so that people frmo yr criteria see it more


thresholds $50, 100, 500, 1000 billing statements table has : invoice number, date, detail, charge and credit the day you set up your adcenter acct becomes your billing cycle day billing dates cannot be changed your credit card is charged monthly based on billing threshold and billing date

adCenter plugin for Excel 2007

My experience preparing and taking the exam

Attempt 1.: Went to adexcellence website. Received "Server Error in '/' Application. Runtime Error". Contact form had expired security certificate. The specialist assigned to us (usually quite fast to respond to us) was not in the office at the moment. GREAT START!

See Also