By now most people have heard of MSN rebranding their search to Bing. We have been playing around with the search engine, and are actually impressed with the features. The left sidebar with topic categories, related searches and search history is very effective when searching. I also like the pop up text preview of the organic listings. When searching for people, Bing seems to heavily weigh social media results like Twitter accounts in their SERPS.
All this is great, but how can you use Bing to make more money as a marketer? Timing for one thing. Microsoft is throwing $100 million into a media blitz. With this kind of hype, its a great time to take advantage of the increased traffic bump to the new service.
If you are using Adcenter, you are already on Bing. Results from old PPC campaigns are shown automatically on Bing. But you might want to check your Adcenter campaigns and see what this media push is doing to your campaigns. Most of our campaigns are showing increased impressions and clicks.
Positioning has also changed a bit. Some searches we have been testing show as many as 11 paid results on the first page. They also display some highlighted main column listings at the bottom of the 1st results page. That is a first for PPC. With all these positions available, your campaigns could radically change as you ads shift around. Again, its a good time to re-evaluate your current PPC ads to track the results of the Bing launch.
It’s still too early to tell how this will affect the bottom line of revenue, but so far results are promising. What do you think of Bing?
Adcenter just finished their big spring update. Some much needed changes have been implemented to make the interface easier to work with. Some of the update to the desktop tool are:
You can go get the MSN desktop tool here
Recently MSN finally released their beta version of their desktop PPC tool. I have been wanting this for about 2 years, and as I have said before, this will basically change the whole landscape of Adcenter. Their clumsy online interface was really the only thing holding them back (other than the obviously lower volume). So with this new tool, I expect a flood of competition on Adcenter.
I had downloaded the new Adcenter desktop beta before my trip, but only got a chance to really test it last weekend. I have to say, I am impressed. They took a lot of cues from the Google desktop tool. The operation is similar using the tabbed design for campaign elements so it doesn’t take very long to get up to speed. Building and managing your campaign is a breeze.
One feature I really like is the “view in excel” button which launches the campaign instantly into Excel. There you can make changes quickly and re-upoad the new sheet.
But where they have really jumped past Google even is with the offline keyword research features.
Using the research tab of the program, you can access a very robust research tool to expand and refine your keyword lists. Then its just a simple matter of applying the changes and uploading.
There are a few bugs here and there, like the stats downloading which seems flaky. But it is still a beta version. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot!
We all know that MSN adcenter has a horrible interface. But the traffic from the network is conversion gold. This paradox sets up an excellent opportunity for the hard working search marketer. Most people are understandably frustrated with the interface, therefore don’t put a lot of effort into their campaingns. So I have always seen this a benefit. You have this great traffic source that is difficult to use, so if you are willing to put the time into it you can dominate your niche. If it were slick and easy like Adwords, everyone would be using it.
That being said, there are ways to make it a little easier to work the current interface. First of all the import tool works fairly well. You can directly import a campaign that you exported from Adwords or YSM. Also for repetitive edits like changing bid prices on adgroups, you can automate the task using a program like imacros with firefox. This can really speed up campaign changes.
The window of opportunity is closing though. Their new offline editor currently being tested is going to rewrite the MSN playbook, making it extremely easy to upload ads, make changes, monitor reports and do everything it takes to make a successful campaign. (I don’t have a copy yet but I have seen advanced screenshots – it looks awesome). When this becomes available to the general pubic, I predict a huge rush of competition to MSN which should drive up bid prices and lower ad posistions. Thus ending the competitive advantage to be exploited now.
There are a ton of keyword tools out there both free and paid. But, some of the best and most innovative tools these days are coming from MSN. Yes, I said MSN not Google. Their Adcenter Labs site is really putting out some cool gadgets lately that I am using a lot.
Here’s some examples:
Demographics predictor You type in a keyword, and it shows you the predicted demographics of who might be searching for this term. That is really important information for targeting you campaigns and ads, as well as good data to use for Google content network targeting;)
Keyword Mutation Detection This is a great misspelling and typo tool.
Keyword Group Detection This tool finds groups of keywords related to your original keyword. Great data.
Ad Text Writer Type in a URL and this tool will write text ads based on the content of the site. Doesn’t always work great, but fun to play around with.
Entity Association Graph This one is really cool. Type in a keyword and the tool show other entries that co-occur within the same user session. You can adjust your hop levels and edge strength with sliders. This kind of info is gold for search marketers.
These are just a few of the many tools MSN has. If you really want to dive into your niche and learn everything about it, these free tools are a great place to start. Remember, to dominate your niche, you have to know everything there is to know about it. Research is the key.
The news came out yesterday that Microsoft adcenter will be officially discontinuing the $50 credits for new account promotion on Feb 29th. I just wanted to let everyone know in case you want to take advantage of the offer before it goes away for good. Now would be a good time to get that new account for your grandmother
As I predicted, Microsoft put in an offer to buy Yahoo today for 44.6 billion. While it’s not a done deal yet, Yahoo is considering it and if they are smart they will take it. What does this mean for the search world? That remains to be seen, but if I were Google I would be VERY nervous. If any company is powerful enough to take down the Google juggernaut it is Microsoft. Combine Microsoft with Yahoo and you have a market share grabbing machine. I think this merger would be an GREAT thing for search marketers. If Yahoosoft could grab 50% of search in 2 years think of the possibilities for search marketers. Think MSN conversion rates with 3 times the current volume. Should be interesting to see how this plays out…
I have been playing around with the new adcenter plugin for Excel and I have to say I am impressed. I work with Excel all day long for everything anyways, so a tool that works within that interface is a great idea. There is a lot of advanced keyword analysis possible with the add-in. I am really just scratching the surface with it, but I definitely recommend giving it a try. You’ll need Excel 2007 to run it. The best part – it’s free.