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September 16, 2008

Pay-Per-Click Advertising with Microsoft adCenter

Here’s a brief overview of some of the rules. Your landing pages cannot contain pop-ups or be under construction. Your ad copy and landing pages must be relevant to your keywords. There can be no duplication of your ads, no using trademarks that belong to others, cannot use a “nonspecific” call to action such as “click here”. You’ll also need to pay attention to grammar and punctuation. You cannot repeat punctuation marks, cannot capitalize entire words, and there is no use of exclamation points in your titles.

Before your campaigns go live, MS conducts what they call an “Editorial Review”. This is done to make sure your ads and keywords are relevant. If not, they’ll be disapproved. Ads can be active, inactive or disapproved.

Following this, it’s time to select your keywords/phrases. There is a “keyword research tool” you can use to help with brainstorming. You can type in a URL and it gives suggestions for the page. Again, two or three keywords will work better than singular.

If you’d like some software help, there’s a keyword research and optimization tool that’s based in Excel. It helps you to build keyword lists quickly and easily and keep precise metrics. You can download it at:

In addition to choosing your keywords, you’ll also want to select the “match types”. There are three available.

1)Phrase Match: Any phrase that contains even one part of your keyword will display your ad. For example: your phrase is “new homes”, the searcher types in “Chicago new homes” and your ad will be displayed.

2) Exact Match: Your ad only shows up when the searcher types in your keywords exactly. For example: Your phrase is “new home” – they must type in “new home” exactly or your ad will not show up. This is more targeted but you’ll get less traffic.

3) Broad Match: Your ad will display if someone types in even one of your keywords in their search request. For example: Your phrase is “new homes” – your ad will display for a search of “new” or “homes”.

You can set separate bids for all three match types. Some match types don’t apply to “Content Ads”. You can also make a list of “negative keywords”. These are words or phrases you don’t want your ads displayed for.

Now that your ads and keywords are in place, let’s talk about the bidding process. There is a five cent minimum bid. In addition to regular bids, you can bid an extra amount above your keyword bid to target customers by demographics. This is optional.

If you’re not using “incremental bids”, your keyword bid amount is the maximum amount you will pay when your ad is clicked. You pay one penny more than the next highest bidder, all other factors being equal. So, you could potentially pay less than your actual bid amount.

You can also set separate bids for “Content Ads” and “Search Ads”. Microsoft does not allow you to see what others are bidding. Your ad ranking can be improved by increasing bids or improving your ad relevance.

So how are ads ranked? Ranking includes: highest bid or incremental bid, greater relevance, and click-through rate.

As mentioned earlier, advertising on the Content Network is optional. Your ads will appear alongside information based pages that contain content that is related to your keywords. Content Ads appear on a select network of high-traffic pages such as MSN Money, MSN Entertainment, Fox Sports, MSN Tech & Gadgets, Windows Marketplace and other participating partners.

Microsoft makes it easy to target your audience with what they call “Intelligent Targeting”. With this advanced targeting, you can select the target markets you want to reach by age, gender, location, etc. If you know your target market only goes online during certain times of the day, you can even pick the days of the week and times of day that you want your ads to run.

Conversion tracking is available and with the in-depth reporting function, you can easily keep an eye on how well your campaigns are doing. You can track click-through rates, impressions, and more.

Some excellent resources for further study are:

MS adCenter Labs:

adCenter Community:

If you’re already using pay-per-click marketing in your online marketing efforts, you might want to take MS adCenter for a spin. With their advanced targeting, you’ll be given the ability to hit your target market with more precision, and expand your reach and on-line exposure.

By Merle The Pay-Per Click Authority when it comes to paid search engine advertising, helpful articles, how-to’s and tips that will help you make the most from your advertising investment. Download a FREE “How To” ebook at…..