Welcome to the final part of an increasing nerdy look at paid search campaign organization. In parts one and two we covered budgeting and targeting considerations for optimal campaign set-up, focusing primarily on Google AdWords.
Now we’ll take an in-depth look at two special considerations to keep in mind in order to get the most out of the campaigns in your Microsoft adCenter account.
As discussed in part one, budgeting considerations should be your first focus when dividing up your keyword list into campaigns.
Budgeting in adCenter is slightly different than in Google AdWords. Microsoft adCenter offers two budgeting options, daily and monthly.
- Daily: This option is similar to Google’s daily budget, with one important exception: there is no option to pace your ads and spread your spend through the entire day. Choosing the daily option means your ads will show for every query that triggers them until adCenter sees that your daily budget is spent.
- Monthly: If you choose to set a monthly campaign budget, you’re offered the option to have adCenter attempt to spread your budget throughout the month (similar to Google’s “standard delivery” option).
Here we run into an instance where your adCenter campaign structure should deviate from that of your Google AdWords accounts. There are several interesting “quirks” to adCenter’s budgeting system, but the pertinent one here is that both the daily and divide budget across the month options don’t really work for campaigns on a daily budget (either set or derived) under $200. Because of this, it’s in your best interest to be slightly less granular with your adCenter campaign setup.
Say you’re a fashion retailer, and on Google you have “skirts” and “shorts” keywords in separate campaigns. Say you mirror this set-up in adCenter and set a conservative daily budget of $50 for each campaign, planning a combined total spend of $100 per day. You then pull a report the next day and find out these campaigns actually spent a total of $175. Congratulations, you’ve just been bitten by the adCenter budgeting bug!
From what I understand this issue is due to the lag time between click activity occurring on Bing and this data being passed to adCenter. By the time adCenter sees that your campaign has hit its daily budget, that cost data is somewhere between 30 minutes and a few hours delayed — meaning that your keywords have continued to spend well past the daily cap. For campaigns with a large daily budget the percentage of overspend is usually negligible. However, the adCenter advertiser that has 25 campaigns with $50 daily budgets will always see a higher daily spend than an advertiser with five campaigns set at a $250 daily budget.
In this instance, it’s much easier to manage your budget by making your campaigns less granular. Hopefully this will become less of an issue once Bing is bolstered by Yahoo’s traffic — we’ll have to wait and see.
adCenter Match Types
When Microsoft created adCenter, they adapted a number of ideas from Google AdWords, including match types. Exact, phrase, and broad match function on adCenter almost exactly like they do on AdWords.
However, Microsoft one-upped Google by making is much easier to run on multiple match types at the same time. On Google AdWords you must create separate versions of each keyword to run on multiple match types (in fact, this should be a piece of your AdWords campaign organization). Microsoft adCenter lets you bid on each of the three match types with a single instance of a keyword.
This is a radically different philosophy than Google’s, and it has its advantages and disadvantages. adCenter’s match type setup makes it much easier to initiate a “multiple match type” strategy for your account, and since you’re not required to duplicate keywords three times to run on all match types it’s much less time-intensive to make campaign-wide bidding and creative changes.
However, since queries for all three match types on trigger the same keyword with the same destination URL, it’s much harder to break out performance by match type if you’re using a third party tracking solution. Budgeting is also an issue, since you’re unable to set separate daily budgets for Exact, Phrase, and Broad match.
If you’re in love with the idea of dividing campaigns by match type there is a way to do this in adCenter, although it requires some trickery. Here’s how to do it:
- Create your campaigns just as you would in Google (Exact, Phrase, and Broad versions of each campaign — make sure to specify which is which in the campaign name).
- For your Exact match campaign, enter keyword bids for only the Exact match type. Leave the other match type bids at zero.
- Launch your Exact match campaigns, and let them run for a few days to build history.
- Set bids for your Phrase match campaigns in the Phrase match type column. Set your Broad match bids for these campaigns to zero, and set your Exact match bids to the adCenter minimum of $0.05.
- Launch your Phrase match campaigns. You should see little to no Exact match traffic in these campaigns, since any queries that trigger an exact match will be served ads from your Exact match campaigns (whose keywords have a higher quality score due to both bid and history).
- After a few days set your bids for your Broad match campaigns, in this instance setting both Exact and Phrase bids to $0.05.
- Then launch your Broad match campaigns.
Voila! You’ve now got each match type split into a separate campaign in adCenter, and can both track conversions and set budget caps by match type.
These are two examples of specific instances where Microsoft adCenter functions differently than Google AdWords. With the Yahoo and Microsoft search alliance just around the corner, marketers will have to devote much more attention to their adCenter campaigns — and anyone who doesn’t take the time to learn the differences between adCenter and AdWords will be missing out on opportunity.
Next time, we’ll explore more of these differences and make sure you’re getting the most out of your adCenter accounts.
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