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Like all of the major search engine ad platforms, Microsoft’s AdCenter has some nice features as well as some not-so-nice features. One feature we like is its bulk keyword editing feature. For one of our accounts, We imported a data file that contained both broad and exact match keywords. For some reason, the exact match keywords didn’t get added. But using the bulk keyword editing feature, it was a simple matter to also set the keywords as exact match. Unlike Google, which requires that the same keyword be added twice in order for it to be in your account as both exact and broad match, with Microsoft, you only add the keyword once, but you can then set it as exact, broad, phrase, or any combination of the three.

For maximum coverage, we recommend you add your keywords as both exact and broad. Keywords set to exact match receive preference over broad match due to increased relevancy.

Microsoft requires a privacy statement or link to a privacy statement page on ad destination URLs that collect visitor contact information. This is a very minor, easy-to-account-for detail, but if you forget it, Microsoft may shut your ads down and it could take 24 hours to get them running again.

One thing we don’t like about Microsoft’s ad platform is that it takes much longer for your ads to enter rotation. With Microsoft and Yahoo!, your ads can begin being displayed in a matter of hours or less. With Microsoft, it seems to be at least a day. Also, for some reason, it seems that search ads go online much slower than content ads.

Another thing we don’t like is that Microsoft places a credit threshold of $50 on new accounts.This means that every time the advertiser spends $50 on ads, Microsoft will send a payment request to its credit card company. So, for example, if you are investing $1,000 per day in MSN ads, Microsoft will be making 20 payment requests to your credit card company on the same day. We have found that some credit card companies are resistant to allowing that many charges from a single vendor. If a payment is declined, it can cause your ads to go offline. Once you’re offline, it can take 24 hours to get back online. So we recommend having a conversation with your credit card company so that they know to expect many charges every day from Microsoft.

So above are a few tips to keep in mind when setting up a Microsoft AdCenter account. The Microsoft search network doesn’t have nearly the total keyword inventory (search traffic) of Google or Yahoo!, but you may find that you can generate cheaper leads. It’s definitely worth your time to give it a try.

If you would like to try out MSN ads for advertising your web site but just don’t have the time or patience, contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net. We’d love to hear from you.