While my main focus with PPC (pay per click advertising) has always been Google AdWords, I’ve also managed some PPC campaigns through Microsoft’s adCenter (adCenter is Microsoft’s equivalent to Google AdWords where your ads run on both the Bing and Yahoo! search engines).
I hated those adCenter campaigns. Even making seemingly simple changes would result in lots of wasted hours, cursing and head banging for me.
This was mainly because the adCenter management interface didn’t work as well as AdWords, wasn’t as intuitive as AdWords, and didn’t have many of the helpful features/options that AdWords has.
Partly due to my frustration and partly due to adCenter not having nearly the traffic potential of an AdWords campaign, I never encouraged clients or prospects to take a serious look at using adCenter for their businesses.
Big Improvements in AdCenter
Things have changed though. I had to launch a few new campaigns in adCenter recently and was very pleasantly surprised by how smooth an experience it was. No head banging, no cursing, no wasted hours of work!
The user interface, experience and performance both online, and in their desktop tool, has improved dramatically. Plus Bing’s added a bunch of welcome features like Modified Broad Match, ad extensions, exact/phrase negative keywords that give you much more control over your campaign and help improve your results.
In fact, I’ve been so impressed that I started running a campaign to promote my own business!
While there are still improvements that can be made (as is the case with AdWords as well), I’ve started recommending adCenter to prospects and clients for the first time.
5 Other Reasons to Consider Adding adCenter to Your Marketing Mix
Besides the improvements to the user interface, here are 5 other reasons to consider adding adCenter to your marketing mix:
1. Cheaper clicks
The competition in adCenter is not as great as on Google so you’ll generally pay a lot less per click. I’ve seen situations where clicks costing $7+ on Google go for under $2 on adCenter.
2. Less competition
This is highly related to lower costs per click, but also gives you the chance to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Small companies may not have the budget to compete with the big spenders for their best keywords in AdWords, but they may be able to carve out a nice niche they can dominate in adCenter.
I’m constantly harping on the concept of having variety in your marketing mix. Relying on just one source of traffic for the majority of your leads is a dangerous game to play. Adding adCenter to your marketing mix gives you one more source of traffic/leads you can leverage to put your marketing on more secure footing.
4. 30% Share of Search
No question Google dominates the search engine world with 66% of market share. But combine Bing and Yahoo! and they add up to just about 30% of the market. When you consider that billions of searches are done each day, 30% is still a big number and is hard to ignore.
5. More desirable demographics
Depending on your target market, adCenter may let you reach a more desirable demographic group. In comparing Bing vs. Google users, Bing users tend to be older (35+, especially 55-64), are more likely to have children and tend to be less sophisticated from a technical standpoint.
I don’t think adCenter will ever catch up to AdWords in terms of reach or functionality, but they’ve certainly made some impressive strides recently. If you’ve got a limited PPC budget and/or want to enhance/supplement your PPC efforts over and above AdWords, it’s definitely worth adding adCenter to the mix.