MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 1

So I decided it’s time to jump in and learn this PPC thing. I simply know too many people making money on it to let another day pass without getting in on the game. MSN was kind enough to invite me to the AdCenter pilot program. My plan is to blog my AdCenter Adventure as I learn PPC from the MSN point of view. I hope some of you come along for the ride and learn along with me and I’d imagine along the way we’ll uncover some cool and not so cool pieces of AdCenter. Keep in mind I’m not planning on reading any instructions or tips along the way. We’ll see how intuitive the interface is. Let’s begin…. I followed the url to sign up and 30 seconds later after entering my info and allowing MSN to charge my credit card for $5 to activate my account I’m staring at this screen: The next couple screens are really straight forward – pick your region (Singapore or US for now) and any dayparting you’d like. They have several predefined times of the day to choose from. So I picked some times I felt would be relevant for the product I’m testing with and, of course, turned my ads off at night. Next up is selecting your keywords. I love their interface for this. The keyword selector is in the top right and you seed it with your base keyword or phrase and it immediately gives you related phrases – much faster than Yahoo or WordTracker’s tools. Then you just click through selecting the terms you want and they are populated into a list in the bottom right. Once you’ve gone through all the phrases you want you click one more button and they move into your main window on the left and you can then manage all the bids on per word basis. I’m running minimum bid for everthing at this point. Now the creative bit. I’ve blurred my ads because you’d probably mock the creative. Well, that, and I don’t want you to see my market – sorry kids 🙂 There is an ad preview that updates as you type in the ad fields below. Not a big deal but pretty cool to see it real time. Now we click submit and see the summary. Ads submitted at 12:28pm PST. I’ll take bets on how long it takes to approve… That wraps up the MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 1. Relatively painless I must say. Far better than the last time I set foot in the Adwords interface. ADDED: wow – 6 terms rejected instantly with: ‘Landing page content not relevant,Undesirable content per editorial guidelines’ as the reason. I can sort of see some of them but one in particular makes no sense at all. They basically told me that a site (Best Pet Reviews) about dogs is great for the term puppies (a fair comparison to the real terms IMHO). Check my lastest review on that guarantor loan program i’ve tested a few weeks ago. You can also check out direct lenders for bad credit personal loans at and learn more about loan and finance services. There are numerous guides to preparing finances for the uncertain times ahead, and all should be read carefully.

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  1. Great preview and review, Todd. It’s great to hear from an expert like you to preview a program that I think is going to give YSM and AdWords a run for their money.

    I love the fact that their editorial guidelines reject things instantly.

  2. Wow… you get to preview MSN’s ad center and my $100,000/month PPC client was invited and still does not get to try it.

    When do you get to test the MSN AdSense equivalent?

    I gotta get out more!

  3. Welcome to the club Todd , i have almost completely ditched SEO for PPC and its been a year now!…IMHO , the good ‘ol days of SEO blackhats are behind us 🙁

  4. Gopi, can you flesh out that comment a little more? SEO blackhat days are behind you because it’s more trouble than it’s worth? Or did something else cause you to try PPC?

  5. (Matt squints at the blurry words.)


  6. Phentermine? – hehe – I looked at it for ages after blurring it and it’s amazing how recognizable a word it is.

    Yes – it’s phen related stuff. No point it testing AdCenter with a bunch of ads and terms that will not force some editorial decisions now is there? 🙂

  7. Gopi – I beg to differ – I think SEO is on the uptick. We’re back in an age where we want to serve slightly different pages to each engine for various reasons. Now that’s not really blackhat but don’t think I’ve given up SEO 😉 SEO hasn’t been this much fun in ages – it’s agressive, it’s technical and it’s calling for a quality solution. It’s been awhile.

    The reason I’m doing this grand PPC experiment is two-fold.
    1 – I really do want to learn more about PPC
    2 – I think MSN has a real chance to taking over #2 if not #1. I have a very logical argument as to why which I’ll save for a whole new blog post 🙂

  8. whats PPC ..


  9. I was ready to go CSI on those blurred terms before I saw Matt’s post.

  10. Matt, IMO Blackhat SEO is more trouble than its worth it nowadays but have to agree with Oilman its much more fun & addictive than PPC.

    Todd, the point is the age of affiliate button pushing is gradually coming to an end …yea i can always create a real content site and all that, but its too boring!

  11. While the mountains may move more slowly than they did in the past, this gives you the opportunity to make ready with more plans for when it does move. Plan your next moves by anticipating all of those of those of your opponent. Don’t attack the fortress walls where they are thickest, instead look for cracks in the neglected spaces.

    You think ‘fortune cookie writing for dummies’ is working for me?

  12. Oilman,

    Did “Phentermine” related keywords get denied?

  13. Oilman – great blog! Thanks.

    Thought you and your readers might like to know that we’ve just launched a free weekly newsletter for adCenter users. Each issue will cover one marketing topic (e.g. keyword research secrets) and one adCenter-feature topic (e.g. using Parameters to personalize ads).

    Sign up by going to, or by sending a blank email to



  14. I can’t see the screenies. Grrrrr.

  15. Phentermine related keywords did not get denied. It appears tho that MSN is running a bot that hits your site and rejects keywords it does not find on your site. I just launched another campaign and a couple phrases were rejected immediately again. I can’t believe that a real editor is looking at accounts that fast. I’ll be posting Part 3 shortly.

  16. At least you got your ads reviewed. I set up a series of ads and keywords the same time and I am still waiting. Status is draft. I will have to call them this week to find out what is giong on.

  17. docluv – afaik your keywords haven’t been submitted until you complete the order. If they are still in draft you need to finish the process – create your ad and submit it for approval. Once you do that your status will says ‘submitted’ and then you’ll get denied or approved. In ‘draft’ no one is looking at them yet.

  18. Our marketing mix will need to adjust again!?… another set of ppc campaigns to monitor, track and analyze. Now i have to add another excel worksheet for our weekly reports.bummer…It was a hard sell to get some clients to do overture ppc campaigns , now i see another storm coming. The reject instantly feature is cool… now our content will have his hands full… Another Landing Page copy will be made … More A/B testing…

  19. oilman – any update on when they finally changed your AdCenter status to Approved? I submitted my campaign yesterday and it still says Submitted. Thanks!

  20. jennyocks – the approval process has slowed down a bit since after SES NY they had a cattle call for new testers. The influx of new AdCenter clients is probably putting some real pressure on the whole system over there. Hang tight.


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