Microsoft Announces Absolute Value of AdCenter

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Microsoft Announces AdCenter, a Pay Per Click network designed to compete with the likes of Google's AdWords and Yahoo's Search Marketing services.

Microsoft Announces AdCenter, a Pay Per Click network designed to compete with the likes of Google's AdWords and Yahoo's Search Marketing services. Integral Impressions has been selected to participate in the US pilot program.

Currently MSN's Pay Per Click program licenses ads from Yahoo's network. Now MSN's plan is to use Yahoo's network about 50 percent of the time, and slowly begin to roll in their own advertisers. For businesses fortunate enough to pilot this program for MSN this means significantly less competition on popular pay per click terms.

What's New?

MSN click prices are substantially lower than that of Yahoo and Google due to the exclusivity of the pilot program. In addition to lower click prices, MSN offers marketers new tools to help target demographics such as, age, gender, location, time of day and day of week. Furthermore, Microsoft will expand their reach to other media such as mobile devices, console gaming, interactive television, even ad-supported software. These new factors will enable marketers to expand their marketing prowess and focus their strategies on new ways to segment and aggressively bid on desired demographics.

Sample Ad Set Up

As an example, you could set forth a bidding strategy with the following ad stipulations:

  •      Friday through Sunday only.
  •      7am - 11am and 2pm - 6pm only.
  •      Emphasize a higher price for Females or Males.
  •      Set a higher price for the age group 35-50.

This type of schematic would be good for residential real estate agents. For commercial real estate you might set up a strategy to target week days.

New Functionality

AdCenter has definitely surpassed Google and Yahoo in terms of functionality with their very first release. Typically marketers use aftermarket bidding products to execute similar bidding strategies that are already built directly in MSN. However, with increased functionality come limitations. Both Google and Yahoo's programs are cross-browser compatible, meaning they will work so long as you have Internet access and a standard browser. Because MSN's AdCenter employs Active X technology, the release requires you to use Internet Explorer 5.5+ on a Windows Operating System.

More on Functionality

One feature we noticed but have yet to beta test is the use of parameters within ads. To our knowledge this is also a feature unique to MSN. Parameters allow you to include dynamic content directly into your Pay Per Click Ads. For example, if your ads were all identical with exception to one word, you could populate that word in all your ads on MSN via a spreadsheet. We welcome dynamic pay per click ads and hope Yahoo and Google follow suit shortly.

What's Missing?

It is difficult to critique what's missing from the AdCenter because it is so new. Upon initial review we found some valuable functionality missing, the foremost being the ability to test more than one version of your AdCopy. This single feature makes Google the starting point for PPC campaigns because ad copy driving the most traffic and multiple campaigns can be evaluated automatically.

How do I participate?

We will continue to update this multipart series summarizing our experience. If you would like Integral to place an order for your business on AdCenter, please contact our team. We invite you to sign up for our monthly marketing newsletter dubbed, The Derivative at


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Matt Browne
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