I've been beta testing Microsoft's Adcenter Publisher for a few months now, and we've finally been given the go-ahead to blog about it. I don't plan to give an exhaustive review of Adcenter, but I did want to point out some of the extra-cool features it has. In fact, I'll focus on two: Amazing ad customization and ad unit rotations for testing purposes.
First, let's take a look at a screenshot of one of the ads I'm running.
Kinda snazzy, huh? Ok, so let's take a look at some of the options you have for making your own snazzy ads.
I used one of these base patterns to apply to a gradient that I chose to create. (You can choose either a solid background or a gradient, and if you choose gradient, you just supply the starting color and ending color and the gradient is created automagically for you.)
Or you can choose to use some image patterns instead.
You can set different types of borders and corners (square corners, rounded corners, deco corners).
You can then add some drop shadows if you'd like.
Obviously, the customization ability is awesome, and is a welcome relief from what is offered elsewhere. You can also save customized ads as templates, and use them for other ads.
Finally, you can set up ad unit rotations to test which ads work best for you.
Ad unit rotations are groups of 6 or fewer ad units with different colors, fonts, and other basic design elements. Comparing these ad units and evaluating the differences in performance can reveal performance differentials for different design templates.
Of course, there's lots more available in Adcenter for publishers, including the ability to set up channels and competitive filtering, adjust font size, and create custom reports. But I think a taste of the ad customization options is all anyone needs to see, really. In my opinion, that's what really sets Adcenter apart from the competition.
Adcenter is still in beta, but I believe they are now looking for more beta participants, to if you have content-rich sites, you might want to check it out.