In June of this year, Microsoft (MSFT) went public with beta testing of their desktop editor for PPC marketing, proving that they are getting even more serious about competing in the Paid Search arena. Although they still have some vast distances to travel in order to compete on the field with Google, they have clearly taken some strategic first steps forward on this journey, which makes putting campaigns up on the adCenter platform much easier than the spreadsheet build previously required.
User feedback has been instrumental in the development of this PPC tool since the release of the alpha version and Microsoft is looking at some new features for future roll out of their desktop editor. According to a post I recently read on Searchenginewatch.com by an adCenter rep, some of these improvements include:
- Enable being able to change the status of an adgroup from draft to active within Desktop. (Currently after uploading, one must go into adCenter to turn them live)
- Find duplicate keywords and allow easy de-duplication.
- Search based on criteria like clicks, impressions, cost, CTR, average position, etc.
- Search for more than one keyword at a time
- Search by keyword match time
- Ability to download large accounts with tens of thousands of adgroups and massive keyword numbers.
We have found that the adCenter desktop tool is already invaluable in the deployment of our campaigns on the Microsoft platform and can't wait to be able to do more with it. I think it's only a matter of time before it catches up with the usability of AdWords Editor. In fact, even the file build-out for the Google AdWords Editor for campaign uploads can be just tweaked to use for the adCenter Desktop tool, saving a great deal of time (not to mention double work).
After speaking with one of our contacts at Microsoft, however, we discovered that we are among a select few in Canada who have been able to take advantage of the beta as there seems to be some difficulty for Canadians to partake in the beta program. If this is true, then its a shame because our Canada-centric marketing perspective can often be much different from how we market alongside our esteemed southern neighbours, and our budgets often demand even more tightly controlled use of PPC advertising (generally speaking). Microsoft adCenter pricing allows such an affordable alternative for clients who wish to take advantage of Pay Per Click advertising, but don't have the available marketing dollars to chase after decent ad placement in Google.
Personally, I'd LOVE to see Yahoo! also build a comparable/compatible desktop editing tool as well.
As always, comments are welcome.
aka The Doug