How to Buy Paid Search Results on Microsoft Live Search - dummies

How to Buy Paid Search Results on Microsoft Live Search

If you want to list your ads so that they display in paid search engine results, you can use Microsoft’s paid search program, adCenter. AdCenter is the newest of the pay-per-click options and one of the most advanced. One thing they offer is a keyword research and optimization tool, based in Excel, which enables you to manage keyword lists, keep precise metrics, and more.

Signing up for Microsoft adCenter

Signing up for Microsoft adCenter costs $5. After that, you only pay when someone clicks your ad, with cost-per-click bids starting as low as $0.05 per click. You can import your existing search campaign using Microsoft adCenter and quickly build or expand keyword lists with adCenter’s Add-in (beta) for Excel 2007.

Choosing placement options in Microsoft adCenter

Microsoft adCenter allows you to target your ads based on user demographics, such as gender, marital status, age, and so forth. You have to pay more to restrict your advertising in this way; the price per click increases or decreases depending on whether someone you picked for your target demographic is clicking your ad. On top of that, adCenter allows you to run your ads on specific days of the week or certain times of day. If you have an ad that targets teenagers, for example, you can choose to have your ad run after 3:00 P.M. on weekdays and all day on weekends in order to achieve higher visibility.

Like Yahoo! and Google, adCenter allows search ads in Live Search results and display ads on Microsoft adCenter Publisher. Opportunities for display ads include RSS feeds to their shopping site, banners, and e-mail. They target smaller business owners with this one, and the cost is $3,000 to $15,000 per month.

Microsoft is the latest search engine to have done studies proving that audiences exposed to both search and display ads together deliver a greater positive brand lift (that is, user recall and positive associations with the brand) than either type of campaign can yield on its own.

An MSN search ad next to a display ad

An MSN search ad next to a display ad

The above figure shows a typical search ad (left) and a typical display ad (right).

The benefits of using Live Search adCenter

These are some of the benefits of Microsoft Live Search adCenter:

  • Demographic Targeting: Allows you to target specific demographics

  • Cost by Segmentation: Adjusts cost per click to target demographic

  • Search and Display: A useful tool for small businesses

  • Tools: Keyword search and optimization tools

  • Reach: Your ads appear on Microsoft’s content network, which currently covers about 43 million users

  • Conversion Rates: adCenter typically offers better return on investment than other search engines

  • Costs Less: Bids are usually lower than either Google or Yahoo!