Many marketers procrastinate when it comes to building adCenter campaigns. There is a prevailing notion that MSN campaigns are just as labor intensive as AdWords campaigns yet produce a small fraction of the yield.
While the latter point has validity, the truth is that MSN campaigns can be quickly built once your AdWords campaigns are up and running. Here are six simple steps to have your ads showing in Yahoo/Bing in the next 15 minutes.
Step 1: Sign Up
Creating an adCenter account is relatively simple. Follow the simple two-step sign up here.
Step 2: Export Campaigns from AdWords Editor
MSN now allows for quick import of AdWords Bulk Sheets. Simply put, this means that your entire AdWords campaign, including account structure, ads, keywords, and settings, can be summarized in a CSV file. Simply download AdWords Editor and load your campaign. Next, export the campaigns directly to your desktop as shown below.
Step 3: Import into MSN Adcenter
After MSN sign up, you should see the following light box appear:
Press “Import existing campaigns into Adcenter” and then load your recently exported AdWords CSV file.
Tip: One of the benefits of adCenter is that CPC pricing is generally a bit lower. Consider lowering all bid prices by 20 percent before uploading. To do this, open your AdWords Export file then locate the Max CPC column. Change the name of the column to something like “Old CPC.” Next, insert a blank column to the right and give it the Label “Max CPC.” Then, apply the formula as shown below to the new max CPC column to automatically lower bids by 20 percent. You can quickly apply this formula to the rest of the cells in the formula by clicking the lower right side of the cell and dragging it down.
After importing your files, you might notice that adCenter doesn’t recognize a few of your AdWords campaign settings, such as geographical targeting, ad scheduling, or device targeting. Don’t worry about this now and simply finish the import.
Step 4: Edit Settings
Once you’ve successfully imported your campaign, go to the campaign tab, select a campaign, and select “change settings.” Here, you will be able to adjust your geographic, device, and scheduling settings that were lost on the import.
Step 5: Add Conversion Code
Place this code at the bottom of the [/body] section of HTML on your form/purchase completion page. Don’t place conversion code on your landing pages unless you want the dreaded 100 percent conversion rate!
Step 6: Complete Billing
Simply fill out your billing information and you’re finished!
Tips and Observations
- While Yahoo/MSN occupy a combined 30 percent search market share (compared to Google’s 65 percent), don’t expect a 50 percent boost in search volume when launching these campaigns. A more realistic traffic increase will be in the 15 percent range, but this depends significantly on your perspective audience’s age, income, and education level.
- Expect significant performance variance on the keyword level. Just because a keyword performs strongly on Google doesn’t mean it will perform similarly on adCenter (I have no explanation for this performance deviation; I just accept the reality). As a result, be sure to optimize heavily in the first month of campaign launch. Weekly performance reporting and quarterly optimization rounds are also a good idea.
- Get campaign tracking on your MSN destination URLs. Also, Social Snap has launched a free URL tracker to help build and store custom URLs.
- MSN’s Publisher Network is notoriously less reliable than Google’s Display Network. Be aggressive in blocking sites or strongly consider opting out of the network altogether.