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Old 02-28-2007   #1
PPC
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Changing Bids in MSN AdCenter

Maybe this is just in the Beta version, but changing bids for individual keywords in AdCenter is an absurd process. Is anyone else, like me, making bid changes to individual keywords from within their interface?

First of all, you can only view data by a handful of default time periods: yesterday, MTD, YTD, all time, etc. So after navigating to the ad group screen, you click the 'edit bids' button, then open up the 'advanced bidding' then select the 'bid for individual keywords'. Then from there you have to sort the list of keywords. The keywords (of course) are only shown 50 at a time, so you will have to navigate many screens here if you have large ad groups. And don't even think about hitting 'back' on your browser... you will be back at the account level or possibly the campaign level or maybe you'll be told that you need to log in again. So this process is already about 5X more time consuming than AdWords. Here's the kicker though, the stats that are provided on the screen that you can edit your bids on are not even legitimate stas from your account!! They are just seemingly arbitrary "performance estimates"! Why are they estimates? Who knows? What time period are they estimating? Who knows? MSN doesn't even tell you that they are estimates. Why are they estimating that if I don't change anything that I will have 4X the spend that I have had over the last month and a half? This is just as painful process as possible. Don't even get me started on trying to edit ads or dealing with MSN's keyword insertion or trying to use their "parameters".

What in the world are people at MSN thinking? Has anyone involved at designing AdCenter ever used AdWords? Its come to the point that its almost not even worth the effort to use this crappy system anymore.
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Old 02-28-2007   #2
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Oh, I almost forgot... their conversion stats they are providing us are inflated by about 50%! Some days I'll see a term with one single click and four conversions!

Brilliant!
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Old 02-28-2007   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPC
Has anyone involved at designing AdCenter ever used AdWords? Its come to the point that its almost not even worth the effort to use this crappy system anymore.
</rant>
This about sums up my feelings about AdCenter. They're reinventing the wheel, when a perfectly good wheel is already out there in Adwords. We get great conversion rates from MSN, but the volumes are so low, and the interface so painful to use, that I barely spend any time working on my account.

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Old 03-02-2007   #4
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conversions are often misunderstood

you can have a conversion today for an ad term that was clicked a week ago... even in google, my conversions never seem to add up because you have no way of knowing how long that cookie was active before a user finally made a purchase. almost no one buys the first time they visit...
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Old 03-02-2007   #5
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I understand what a conversion is and they are consistently overestimating our conversions by about 50%. It varies from day to day, but the long term data has shown they they report +50%. I keep track of this daily and this has been the case since we first implemented their conversion tracking code over a year ago.

90%+ of our sales are made in the first visit anyway... I'm sure this varies wildy depending on industry.
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Old 03-02-2007   #6
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interesting... conversion numbers being reported shouldn't be an "estimate" - if the code is implemented correctly, it only runs after a completed purchase. Unless employees make a lot of test purchases (not uncommon) after clicking a paid link in a search engine (sadly, also not uncommon), you should never have ghost conversions. But conversions are almost impossible to accurately track because the one thing the SEM reporting doesn't tell you is WHICH customer made the purchase (that whole privacy thing). Unless your web log analysis is capable of tracking a customer from start to finish once they get to your site from a click on a PPC ad, you can't match a visit or a click to a purchase... and that still won't account for the person who clicked on your add three weeks ago, bookmarked the item they wanted, then came back today when they had the money to make the purchase.

And who knows, they may have clicked your ad again today but that same cookie that keeps your conversion count from being accurate also keeps you from having to pay for those extra clicks by the same user... which leads to "how much daily scanning and dumping of cookies costs me in PPC ads." They kill their cookies, you get charged again the next time not-so-smart user who didn't use a bookmark instead performs the search again and clicks on the ad again...

Conversion counts are pretty much only useful in making CEOs happy (not that they LIKE the numbers but they like knowing that you're attempting to track ROI on those paid ads).
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Old 03-02-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotravel
But conversions are almost impossible to accurately track because the one thing the SEM reporting doesn't tell you is WHICH customer made the purchase (that whole privacy thing)... Conversion counts are pretty much only useful in making CEOs happy (not that they LIKE the numbers but they like knowing that you're attempting to track ROI on those paid ads).
I would definitely disagree. We track conversions at about 90% on Google, Yahoo and some other outlets. And these tracked conversions aren't for my CEO, they are for me to manage our SEM accounts. They tell me what is and isn't working in our campaigns and most importantly how much to bid for each keyword. Without being able to see conversions for outlet-> campaign -> keyword, it would be impossible to bid in paid search with any effectiveness at all. As far as "attempting to track ROI on these paid ads", I think you're way off here. I certainly track ROI for every campaign that I run and I'm sure that most paid search specialists do as well.

Last edited by PPC : 03-02-2007 at 02:16 PM.
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