Friday, January 7, 2011

One of the duties I've been tasking with recently is to begin duplicating our Google AdWords campaigns into Microsoft AdCenter. In preparation, I read a bunch of the stuff out there by people who had already compared the two. I even compiled a spiffy PowerPoint presentation for the office from everything I'd learned. I then went on to actually upload our campaigns into AdCenter, figuring out more and more effective ways to do so as I went. Along the way, I also came over a few useful details you won't learn from Google or Microsoft. To summarize some of the more interesting points:

  • Google has 62.90% of the core search share, and Bing 31.70% (Sep. '10 Comscore).
  • Because of this, AdCenter is much cheaper. We transferred our campaigns with bids at only 1/4 of our bids on AdWords. Our average CPC on Bing is somewhere around 1/4 or 1/5 of our average CPC on Google.
  • Both use broad/phrase/exact/negative match, but Bing does not have the "modified broad" option that AdWords provides.
  • AdWords will let you evenly rotate OR optimize your ads, while AdCenter automatically optimized them by CTR (click-through rate). Normally, you want to optimize them anyway, but we used the rotation option at CallFire at first just to collect some analytical data on specific differences in our ads.
  • The bidding system is the same for both: you pay $.01 more than the next-highest bidder, all other factors equal.
  • Unlike Google, which bills you in cycles, AdCenter is pre-pay only. You can then recharge your account when your balance runs out, or set it to automatically recharge.
  • AdCenter has this nifty "price estimation tool," which you can access by selecting the ad-group in the campaign tab, clicking "add or edit keywords," clicking "next," and expanding "advanced options." This will let you see estimates of the position/CPC for specific bid amounts (remember that these are only estimates).

The easiest way to transfer campaigns from Google AdWords into Microsoft AdCenter:

  • Open AdWords Editor (or download it free if you don't already have it).
  • Click File -> Export Spreadsheet (CSV) -> Export Selected Campaigns and Ad Groups...
  • Save this file, and upload it using the "import campaigns" button in the AdCenter campaign tab. Click next a thousand times, review, and submit.

  • Now for what is probably the most useful part of this post...


  • Change your default bids BEFORE you upload: You can sit there for years, clicking on each separate adgroup in AdCenter and changing the default search bids for all the keywords. (And you will want to change them since you probably don't want to devote as many funds to Bing as to Google.) And as far as I could tell, you cannot view multiple adgroups in AdCenter at once, making it impossible to select an entire campaign's keywords all at once. The easiest way to save time, I have found, is to just open the CSV file you saved using AdWords Editor, and change the default bid in there. (It takes about 5 seconds once you find it the first time.) THEN upload the file to AdCenter.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, REVIEW YOUR NEGATIVE KEYWORDS: I let our campaigns run for a bit, and upon checking on them, started wondering why some keywords were a) getting zero impressions, and b) wouldn't come up when I searched Bing for them, even if there were no other sponsored links. I called our account representative, who, after some digging around, told me it was our negative keywords causing the problem. Here's something you don't really find in all your reading about AdWords vs. AdCenter: AdCenter does NOT have exact phrase negatives. What does this mean? For example, we had an adgroup for "call routing." We were receiving no impressions on all the different phrases we had in that adgroup, which was somewhat strange. One of our negative keywords, however, was the exact phrase "what is call routing." Actually, it was only an exact phrase in AdWords. When transferred to AdCenter, it was no longer an exact phrase. And since Bing discards "noise words" like "what" and "is," we were left with the negative keyword of "call routing." This means that any of our ads containing the keyword "call routing," weren't showing up when someone searched for "call routing." GENIUS!
  • Don't use a mac: Some interfaces don't even load, and uploading/importing a CSV file was completely impossible. I would just get an error every time I even tried to "Browse..." my computer for it. Instead of calling support and being told it's because you're on a mac, just skip that step and temporarily find a PC like I ended up doing. (Also, AdCenter Desktop - the Microsoft equivalent of AdWords editor - is not available for mac.)
  • Hope this may have helped some of you out there, and please feel free to shoot any further questions at me.