To many PPC advertisers, Microsoft adCenter is considered the ugly step sister of Google AdWords – less attractive, sometimes shunned and often neglected. With Google accounting for an overwhelming 65.02 percent of U.S. searches in May 2012 (Experian Hitwise), it’s no wonder that most companies prefer spending their advertising budget and time with AdWords.
I agree with most advertisers that it makes sense to focus most of your resources on AdWords over adCenter. Google make up the majority of searches and their desktop tool and user interface are much easier to use than adCenter. However, I think it’s important to still allocate some budget and time to adCenter, instead of ignoring it altogether. Here are my top reasons you should advertise with adCenter:
1) More Impressions and Clicks
Yes, Google makes up the majority of search market share in the U.S. But, why miss out on the searches that come from Yahoo and Bing? Bing-powered searches accounted for over 28.12% of U.S. searches in May 2012. This is a significant number of searchers that you shouldn’t ignore.
2) Different User Demographic
The user demographics of people searching on Google and Bing/Yahoo! differ, so if you are only advertising on Google, you may be missing out on targeting certain groups of people. According to Nielsen data provided by our friends at Bing, 30.8% of Bing/Yahoo! searches came from users in the 55+ age demographic (Shown below).
Bing users tend to skew older, which could be a result of Bing being the default search engine for Internet Explorer.
Bing and Yahoo! users also have pretty high household incomes (HHI). About 20.2% of searchers in Q1 2012 had HHI greater than $100,000. Knowing that the user demographics skew slightly older and wealthier, you can implement a different strategy in adCenter and some of your campaigns could even be more successful than in AdWords.
3) Less Competition
Advertising on Google has become very competitive since many advertisers spend most of their budget in AdWords. It’s often difficult or very expensive to land your ad in the top 1-3 positions. With fewer competitors in the space, I’ve found that many of average CPCs for comparable campaigns are much cheaper in adCenter than in AdWords. For one of my clients, keywords cost about 50% less per click in Bing/Yahoo while ads are consistently in higher positions.
4) adCenter has features that AdWords doesn’t have
adCenter offers some unique features that will help you manage your campaigns more effectively. Here are two of my favorite adCenter features that AdWords doesn’t have:
Negative Keyword Conflict Report
Running this report will allow you to find all keywords that are restricted because of campaign or ad group level negative keywords you have in your account. This is a very handy report that is available in the adCenter Reports tab (shown below).
Split Networks by Campaign
In Google, Search Network campaigns must be opted into either “Google Search only” or “Google and Search Network”. There’s no option to only opt a campaign into the Search Network, even though the networks perform differently and should be optimized differently. This isn’t an issue with adCenter which allows campaigns to be opted into “Bing and Yahoo! Websites” and “Syndicated Search Partners” together or separately. This gives advertisers the ability to optimize campaigns for the two networks more effectively.
5) adCenter is Improving
If it’s been a while since you’ve advertised with Microsoft adCenter, a lot has changed. There have been a number of improvements to the desktop tool and interface that have made it more user-friendly. Here are a just a few new features that have been added or will be added soon:
Yes, Google already has Sitelinks, but it’s great that adCenter is offering them too now. Better CTRs and more “real estate” for your ads.
Modified Broad Match
Also a feature that Google had first, but a great new addition nonetheless.
Even Ad Rotation Setting
This feature should be released soon, allowing advertisers to have better control of their ad copy testing.
Ultimately, the search engine with the greatest search share will be where advertisers spend most of their time and resources. However I hope that my reasons above will remind you to spend a little more time with any neglected adCenter campaigns you may have or to consider starting some adCenter campaigns if you haven’t already. If you still don’t think you have enough time to manage adCenter campaigns on top of your AdWords accounts, consider using an agency, such as Point It.