After a break over the Christmas period we're continuing our series of guest posts from Microsoft Advertising on how to get started with pay-per-click advertising.

In our previous adCenter post, an introduction to Microsoft Advertising adCenter,  I gave you the basics of adCenter and how you can use it to manage your campaigns, track performance and generate new keywords. This week I’m going to show you how to do all this and more within the adCenter Desktop, an application that can be installed on your computer and used offline.

adCenter Desktop is great for managing campaigns in bulk, meaning you can make edits to multiple items at once. It also has some very useful time-saving features.

Getting started

Download the tool from http://advertising.microsoft.com/uk/small-business/support-center/adcenter-downloads/adcenter-desktop and log in using your adCenter details (you can register at http://adcenter.microsoft.com/ if you haven’t already done so).

Navigation

adCenter Desktop is divided up in to 5 main areas; the ribbon at the top of the screen is where you’ll access the tools you’ll use most regularly, whereas the left menu is where you can select which account to work on or a particular campaign or ad group. The main area shows the campaigns, ad groups and keywords within the account which can be edited at the bottom of the screen. Finally, the dashboard on the right allows you to track campaign performance and view current trends within the account.

Adding and selecting accounts

The browser menu on the left can be used to add and remove accounts. Start by selecting the account you want to start working on.

When selecting an account for the first time, you will be prompted to download it. When you make any edits to an item, such as a campaign or keyword, it will appear in bold: a bold item indicates that changes have not been made live. You must then click ‘Sync Changes’ on the ribbon to apply the changes to your account.

Dashboard view – New feature

Dashboard is a great new feature that allows you to track campaign performance from your desktop tool, allowing you to view metrics such as clicks and impressions over a range of dates. To begin, simply click the dashboard bar on the right of the screen.

You can also view trends in account performance such as ‘Greatest change in clicks ’ over a selected date period. This is a useful way to see which ads and keywords are performing the best and which may need some attention.

Viewing and editing campaigns, ad groups and keywords

The adCenter Desktop allows you to switch between campaigns, ad groups, text ads and keywords using the navigation buttons at the top of the screen. You can also search for a particular item using the search feature.

By expanding the view in the account browser on the left, you can view a particular campaign or ad group. After selecting an item you can edit it, for example to change the campaign name or monthly budget. Multiple items can be edited at once - try using Ctrl+A to select all items or holding down Ctrl and clicking on multiple items to select them all.

You may find the ‘Find and Replace’ functionality from the ribbon useful when making changes to multiple items.

Error view

Occasionally, you may receive notification that you have errors within your account.

Clicking on the ‘View errors’ button allows you to view any items with errors, such as a keyword that has received an editorial disapproval.

These items need to be corrected before they can be synced.

Imports, exports and multiple changes If you have an existing PPC account on another search engine, you may consider importing it into Microsoft adCenter

You can do this easily using the ‘Import’ functionality from the ribbon. This allows you to import existing campaigns quickly and easily, avoiding the need to re-create them from scratch. If you wish to back-up your adCenter account, it’s a good idea to save an export on a regular basis. Therefore, if you accidentally make any changes that you later want to revert you can simply import your saved backup file.

Another way of importing or editing multiple items at once is using the multiple changes function if you find it easier to edit items within Microsoft Excel, simply select campaigns, ad groups or keywords and click ‘Copy to Excel’. You can then make the necessary changes within Excel and re-import them easily using the multiple changes wizard. Shortcuts: adding match types, altering bid types Highlight any keyword. If you would like to bid on this keyword across all match types, right click, select ‘Bid on match Type’, select ‘All’

To alter bid amounts by a particular percentage or amount navigate to the keywords tab, select the keywords whose bids you wish to change, right-click and select ‘Change Bids’

Negatives and targeting by location, time, day and demographic profile

Using adCenter, you can target users by geographic location, time and date or demographic profile. Using the incremental bid feature you can, for example, bid higher for male users over female users if your product particularly appeals to men. You can view these options by first selecting a campaign, and then ‘Targeting’ from the editing window at the bottom of your screen.

Clicking the Exclusions button also allows you to add negative keywords to a particular campaign.

 

Summary

Microsoft adCenter Desktop is a powerful tool allowing you to create and edit multiple items at once. There are also some really nice shortcuts such as adding all match types or increasing bid types by a particular percentage. adCenter Desktop also works well with Microsoft Excel allowing you to make changes within Excel and re-import them in to the tool. The new dashboard feature also makes it easy to get a snapshot of the performance of your account so you can see what’s performing well and what may need some work. Have a go with the tool and let us know how you get on. If you have any questions or feedback please post a comment!