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Old 10-21-2005   #1
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MSN AdCenter Rough Start

They need to overhaul this thing quickly as it just does not do enough and people are going to walk away from it without the ability to see how the traffic is coming... the price estimator tool (their version of the Traffic Tool) is a bit of a joke... there is nowhere that I have found yet that shows your average position... Campaigns are Orders and AdGroups are Campaigns - not too hard to follow but obviously more SE speak to add to the vocabulary...
every time I do a go back etc. it reloads everything from the server...
The Learning Center is dead....
The Keyword Area that has match type (Exact, Phrase and Broad) allows bids for each type... I did not want to break anything so did not put in conflicting bids... may try that on Monday when I have a chance to someone being there to fix....

Overall this gets a thumbs down and will not be getting too much of our cash unless the conversion rates are great... too blind and risky for now.

Plus they have said they are only delivering 25% of search where they have someone advertising direct and the rest goes to Overture until June 06 - think that is a stretch and is more how long they see it taking to gather momentum.... if they do not address the problems of the AdCenter that will be much longer.
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Old 10-24-2005   #2
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Dissed by MSN

Well I believe it was about a year ago when I submitted the first form to be included in announcements and initial offerings for adcenter. I didn't receive even 1 email from MSN. So about 4 months ago I submitted again. Again no info, no announcment. When chater increased on SEW a month or so ago about the impending launch I once again submitted. Again, nothing.

Now I go to try and create an account.

SORRY, by invitation only.

With this kind of poor organization, treatment and negative comments from the likes of Aussie I won't be using MSN until I hear this group singing it's praises.

It must be nice to run a business where you can turn away a client ready to spend a couple hundred K a year with you.

People tend to become like the people they hang out with, and MSN has obviously spent far too much time with Y!.
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Old 10-24-2005   #3
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Hi Discovery,

I know your frustration. It is good to be ahead of the game. Thought you may value some of the information provided to me by our account rep at MSN.

They are currently accepting contracts and placing advertisers on a waiting list by the date received. The first users of AdCenter will be current MSN clients. We pulled out of their CPC program a while back when it wasn't performing but we of course want to be part of the game again. As they are offering complete hand-holding during their beta - they do need to limit the number of clients they bring on board. We were hoping to have our program up before the holiday season however we were told it probably wouldn't be until January or so. I asked how long they expect beta and he wasn't sure, as long as it takes to make sure everything is working for their advertisers properly before they roll-out the self-serve version of the program. During their beta they will be running an A/B test, one site serving from Yahoo and the other from their current clients of AdCenter.

When I submitted the contract, I received a survey from them a week later asking about our spending habits, goals for the program, etc. Although they state they will be going by the list I do think they "may" be prioritizing clients by spend. Which is a very capitalistic thing to do, wouldn't you say?


Hope some of this helps.

T.Mitchell
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Old 10-24-2005   #4
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Thanks T

Thanks T that clears things up a bit.

I guess we are a bit eager to find alternatives to the big two.

I think MSN should have kept their mouths shut until the beta program started, then ramped up the chatter and marketing on the new program.

Driving "excitement" nearly a year before beta starts is only going to get you impatient and slightly frustrated potential customers... instead of excited and appreciative new clients just before you launch.

Time will tell if they can right the ship and meet some pretty high expectations.

Cheers,

Discovery
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Old 10-24-2005   #5
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Indeed

Yes, I know what you mean, we were disappointed to find out the wait time for the launch of our site in the program. The rep gave me some very good information on the program and I think they will be leading the pack in some areas such as behavioral targeting and geo targeting. They have the use of MSN account demographics to allow advertisers to select gender, age, region, etc. for displaying their ads. We won't be benefiting from geo since we are an e-tailer and sell to all over the US.

I think that as our rep said, they may have taken a while to get into the game just as they have with other things (Windows, Office, etc.) they are confident they will take a chunk of marketshare. I do agree with this, only time will tell.

As for them being an addition to the two biggies, they will be; however if you already participate in the Yahoo Sponsored Search, expect traffic to decrease a great deal since MSN feeds Yahoo currently and will continue to do this until they are out of Beta (expected some time next year). Yahoo numbers down, MSN adCenter up.
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Old 10-24-2005   #6
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Getting out of Y! is good news

The less I have to use Y! the better.

Since there is very little targeting and absolutely no ability to exclude sites we spend a great deal of money on clicks from sites we know do not convert.

BTW: Does the beta of MSN have the ability to exclude domains and sub domains?

If so this is a huge win for advertisers. Our profits increase nearly 12% after Google offered this feature.

Thanks again for the info to those of us on the outside.

Discovery
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Old 10-25-2005   #7
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Average CPC/Position, Price Estimation, and AJAX...

I just wanted to discuss a few of the concenrs mentioned in this thread.

Average CPC / Position: Please take a look in the reporting section - you can get Average CPC / Avg Pos information broken down by order, by ad, by keyword, destination uRL, campaign, or by account (yes, you can have multiple accounts with a single login!). Not only is Avg CPC / Pos available accross all of theses dimensions - it is also available to be aggregated by different granularities of time such as daily, monthly, weekly, yearly, of for all time. You can also select custom date ranges, such as "show me how it performs on all mondays" - or perhaps "month over month", etc. These custom date-ranges work realy nicely with our bid boost feature that lets you increase your bids for different days of the week or times of the day to reflect you true valuations of those times, etc (also the day/week targeting is based on end-user location - so if you target lunch - you will get end-users during their lunch; not arbitrary server time)

Price/Position Estimation: The price/position estimation is being overhauled as we speak. The new solution should provide all of the metrics that you are used to and theoretically should be much more accurrate than competitive offerings (we got a nice piece of research from Microsoft Research here). Overall, we completely recognize the importance of this component but even with the perfect prediction system, it will be difficult to be accurate until volatility of keyword orders slows down (which may not be until after the launch settles down - or at least until we have enough data to reliably predict the pattern). Additionally, the current AdCenter research tool is the only tool that I know of that will also show you the location / demographic breakdown of the search traffic.

Page Reloads / Ajax: All of our grids load asynchronously and are essentially ajax in form - so for the most part you shouldn't be seing page refreshes (although there are still some in there).

Here are few other blog reviews of AdCenter:

http://www.marketingshift.com/2005/1...plete-with.cfm

http://www.searchenginelowdown.com/2...a-preview.html

Cheers!
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Old 10-26-2005   #8
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Welcome Aboard AdCenter.... hope you stay around amid the initial rough times you are going to get as we vent about a system working itself into a new space...
Good luck and we expect to see the same stick-to-it nature that your monolith brings to most projects.
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Old 10-27-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdCenter
I just wanted to discuss a few of the concenrs mentioned in this thread.
I have a question on your so-perfect-targeting. Let's say I have a campaign and I have this new gender+city targeting in it.

You say:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdCenter Help
You can target your order to show ads more frequently to MSN Search users who belong to a specific age group and gender by bidding more for keyword matches which meet your target criteria.
And also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdCenter Help
You can target your order to show ads more frequently during specific days of the week ... for keyword matches which meet your target criteria.
To show ads more frequently, right?

So not "only to the targeted segment" but just - more often. So, let's pretend that I have a campaign targeted to Washington 18-25y old male visitors. How do you get this new targeting? With your MSN Passport.
And how many male 18-25y. old Washington visitors use your MSN Passport? Is it 90%? 10% 1%?
And if it's 1% - so my ads are targeted in 1% visitor range - and in 99% range they go just to every visitor?

How can I get this information? I don't see it in your reports - you have all these columns - but don't have details on this "more frequently" part.
If it's not 100% targeting - I need to know exactly how many ads where targeted, and how many just went by. How?
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Old 10-27-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discovery
Our profits increase nearly 12% after Google offered this feature.
Are you speaking of the site exclusion feature of AdWords? If so, I was under the impression that this only applied to content listings. Can you also exclude distribution partners in the Google network for normal paid search with this feature?
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Old 10-27-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPC
Are you speaking of the site exclusion feature of AdWords? If so, I was under the impression that this only applied to content listings. Can you also exclude distribution partners in the Google network for normal paid search with this feature?
As far as I know it is still only available for content which includes the banner/image ads too.
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Old 10-27-2005   #12
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Thanks, thats what I thought. More search engines should start offering this for paid search, especially the smaller ones. We have had success on the smaller outlets when we have been able to...
1) block foreign traffic, and
2) when the smaller outlets themselves have "optimized" our traffic by excluding partners that did not convert.

Had more smaller players (names omitted but we all know who they are) taken this route they wouldn't be doomed to failure as they are right now. Eventually, the advertisers who are spending money on smaller search engines but not calculating ROI will realize that it is -EV to pay for so many useless clicks.
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Old 10-27-2005   #13
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was supposed to have a walk-through of adCenter

Unfortunately, our rep was clueless about adCenter's features - or more interestingly, why all kw's remained in Pending status.

Relative to AdWords, this product has a L O N G way to go - which is fair enough...Google had a big lead. But if MSN wants to be taken seriously as player, they need to close the gap...fast. To me, this has the feeling of a product rushed to market - perhaps with a solid backend, but a poorly thought-out frontend.
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Old 11-03-2005   #14
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Originally Posted by buyfindget
.... To me, this has the feeling of a product rushed to market - perhaps with a solid backend, but a poorly thought-out frontend.

i think this is a big negative and this ain't the first time they are rushing into the market
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Old 11-03-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buyfindget
Unfortunately, our rep was clueless about adCenter's features - or more interestingly, why all kw's remained in Pending status.
I have had a similar experience when contacted by MSN "Experts" on the phone. I am not sure what they took into account when hiring sales reps, but a rudimentary understanding of their own system would go a long way. Not to mention the ability to compare it to the G and YSM operating features. Perhaps MSN needs to spend a little time training its CS and Sales staff, before they scare anyone else that's "in the know" away?
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Old 11-08-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
I have had a similar experience when contacted by MSN "Experts" on the phone. I am not sure what they took into account when hiring sales reps, but a rudimentary understanding of their own system would go a long way. Not to mention the ability to compare it to the G and YSM operating features. Perhaps MSN needs to spend a little time training its CS and Sales staff, before they scare anyone else that's "in the know" away?
I've been running into the same issues. I'm actually getting getting better support via the forums (AdCenter) than I am when I call in. I actually had a rep tell me my ad was not displaying becuase they were only going to display 8 ads total and my bid was not high enough to be in the top 8...even though the keyword tool in the MSN account had my average position between 2 & 3. Of course they are displaying more than 8 ads - this was just misinformation.

I'm starting to get the hand of the interface, although I agree, it really needs some work. You really have to dig into the account before you start seeing up-to-date information regarding impressions & clicks.
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Old 11-08-2005   #17
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WebmasterWorld has a feedback thread that msndude started:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum97/663.htm
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Old 11-08-2005   #18
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Yep, and I also asked AdCenter rep if they'd do the same over here plus respond to some of the feedback our members have already given in this thread. If that's what they're after, people have been posting it to them already
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Old 11-08-2005   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannysullivan
Yep, and I also asked AdCenter rep if they'd do the same over here plus respond to some of the feedback our members have already given in this thread. If that's what they're after, people have been posting it to them already
I told the people handling my account to check out this thread....
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Old 11-08-2005   #20
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I told the people handling my account to check out this thread....
I had a thread running at DP and pointed them to it as well.
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