04 Sep 2012

New Ad Rotation in Microsoft adCenter

September 04, 2012PPC Advertising


Critics of Microsoft adCenter have shunned the platform because of its inability to offer appropriate PPC ad rotation options. For years, there was one measly setting for ad rotation – ads were “optimized” so that only the ads with higher CTR’s were shown on a more regular basis. Some adCenter users utilized the skills that they learned from AdWords to manually rotate their ads so that they could accurately test the true effectiveness of one display ad over another. Even those who were in the know found the process tedious, and for the past six years adCenter has been taking the role as the lesser of the PPC giants.
Those who have been sticking it to adCenter for lacking the rotation feature – rejoice! When preparing ads and campaigns in adCenter, you now have the option to rotate your ads evenly. This feature went live in August, and users are already giving this update the thumbs up. You can choose to rotate ads evenly rather than optimize the ads with higher CTRs by visiting your “Advanced Settings” tab and clicking your choice in the “Ad Rotation” section. Your ads will not be subjected to any time limits or restrictions.
AdCenter seems to have listened, to a degree, and Microsoft is giving its users the option that they wanted. All that said, it’s far from perfect. You should note, this feature is only available on the web interface, and it works at the ad group level. This means that you will have to manually update your ad groups one at a time. You may also be fumbling around for a bit because the adCenter desktop tool does not offer help topics on using the new feature as of yet.
As with any choice you make in regards to your PPC campaigns, you should have goals for the testing process to ensure you’re getting the most out of your run. Initially, you should set your own time goals for the testing period. This will make sure you’re not wasting time and money on ads that have higher CPCs and vice versa. When testing your ads, try out different copy and see which messaging appeals most to your potential customers. By trying out two-three different versions, you may find that one ad hits significantly harder than another. Try using price points versus promo codes or something equally relevant to see what is most effective when reaching your customers. Make sure that you are measuring your costs along the way to gain a perspective on what the true ROI will ultimately become.
Rely heavily on your ad performance reports during the testing process. This is the best thing you can do to gauge how certain ads are performing over a period of time. Carefully review things like impressions, position, CPC, Spend, Conversions and Conversion rate. Also, don’t forget to check on the performance of certain keywords. It doesn’t matter how great the messaging is if your ads aren’t being triggered by users’ search queries. By having this information handy, you can make tweaks to your bids and keep an eye on your budget while your ads rotate in and out of display. Your knowledge will help you optimize your ads further down the road when you’re ready to start being more organized with campaigns.
This is a huge step for adCenter, but as with many new features it comes with its own obstacles. Be diligent while updating your ad groups, and be cautious when reviewing your performance reports. Patience is key, but avoid wasting time and rotating ads that are costing you more than they’re yielding. Over time though, surely Microsoft will issue updates, and if you stay savvy, you can easily become a rotating whiz.