Continuing our series of guest posts from Microsoft Advertising adCenter on how to get started with online advertising; you can view the whole series here. This week we focus on adCenter.

If you’ve been following our recent series of blog posts you should be up to speed with the basics of PPC search and the features offered by Bing. We’re now going to run you through Microsoft adCenter which is the main tool that you’ll use to manage your campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords.

adCenter can be accessed in two ways: using your web browser or by using the adCenter desktop application. The adCenter desktop application can be installed to your computer allowing you to make bulk edits to your accounts even when you’re offline, but first we’re going to take a look at adCenter on the web which is great for quickly editing your campaigns and monitoring performance.

Getting started

Head to http://adcenter.microsoft.com and log in from this page. If you’re a new user you can sign up here too.

Navigation

Use the navigation bar at the top of the screen to switch between different reports and tools.

Home

This is where you’ll start and gives a great snapshot of your account performance. The graph allows you to view account performance over the last days or months based on metrics such as clicks and impressions (how many times your ad is viewed). On this page you’ll also get an indication of how much of your monthly budget has been spent as well as any important announcements about your account.

Campaigns

The campaigns tab allows you to view all campaigns within your account, including performance data for your selected time period. Clicking on an individual campaign allows you to view the ad groups within that campaign, and drilling further shows you keywords within that ad group. In a future post we’ll let you know how best to set up your campaign structure, so stay tuned for that.

New feature: the opportunities tab

The opportunities tab is a very useful new feature that highlights where you might be missing clicks because of campaigns being limited by budget. For example, if you have a monthly campaign budget of £10 and an
average cost per click of £1 then your ad can only be clicked 10 times within that month before it goes on budget pause, even though there may be 100 extra
clicks available that month if your budget was higher. Opportunities such as this are highlighted within this tab.

Tools

Some very useful tools are available within adCenter such as the ‘research keywords’ tool that automatically suggests keywords relevant to your particular website or existing keywords, which is great if you’re setting
up your PPC account for the first time. You can also import existing campaigns from this page, as well as view errors for ads or keywords and preview your ad for a particular keyword.

Reports

Finally, the reports page gives you access to a wide range of reports on your account. A report that you may find particularly useful is ‘search query performance’, allowing you to view the exact search queries that
users have used to find your ads. This is particularly useful if you have many keywords on broad or phrase match.

Summary

In later posts we’ll go in to more detail about how to use adCenter to create and edit your campaigns, but hopefully this blog post has given you a good idea of how adCenter can be used and how to navigate your way around it. Next week you can learn how to use the adCenter desktop application to effectively manage your campaigns in bulk, even when you’re offline. Have an explore of adCenter and let us know how you get on, if you have any questions or feedback please feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading,

Tom