How Is adCenter Different to AdWords? |

How Is adCenter Different to AdWords?

By Tamsin Mehew / January 16, 2012

So you’re advertising on Google, but you want to branch out to Bing? There’s a new audience for you there, with less competition and less cost!

Microsoft adCenter is in many ways similar to AdWords. Your ads appear on searches that match your positive keywords but not your negative keywords. Your account contains campaigns, which contain ad groups, which contain keywords and ads. Your ad’s position and the price of a click are determined by your bid and previous performance. But there are many differences – here are some of the most important ones for when you’re starting out.

Markets and Locations

In adCenter, there are separate options for Market and for Location. The Market determines what language you can use and which websites your ads appear on. Location determines where the users are.

So if your Market is ‘UK – English’, and you target all Locations, then your ads will appear on English websites like to visitors from anywhere in the world. If the Market is ‘UK – English’ and the Location is United Kingdom, the ads will be on the same websites, but only visitors from the UK will see your ads.

The current Markets are USA (in English or Spanish), Canada (French or English), UK (English), France (English) and Singapore (English). You choose a campaign’s Market when you create the campaign, and it can’t be changed afterwards. Location can be set at campaign or ad group level, and can be changed at any time.

Learn more here.


All search terms and keywords – regardless of match type – are normalised. AdCenter will ignore CapITAlisAtion, áccents and most #punctuation. Note that plurals are left unchanged.

Apostrophes are treated differently to other punctuation. If an apostrophe appears in a name or in the middle of a word, it will be left, so “O’Brian” is different from “OBrian” or “O Brian”. If an apostrophe is used in a possessive, the non-possessive form will be used, e.g. “Keiko’s” is the same as “Keiko” but not “Keikos” or “Keiko s”.

Words like ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘what’, ‘for’ and ‘a’ are ignored. This means adCenter sees no difference between the searches “Keyword”, “How to Keyword” and “What is Keyword for?” – any of these terms can trigger an ad that has ‘Keyword’ on exact match. Negative keywords are normalised the same as positive ones, so you can’t stop this.

Microsoft’s explanation of normalisation is here.

Dynamic Text and Placeholders

In AdWords, you can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to put terms from the search query into your ad. AdCenter has a similar feature, which allows extra information.

Firstly, you can put {keyword} into your ad, and this will be replaced by the triggered keyword when the ad appears.

Secondly, adCenter will let you give your keywords three Placeholder parameters, which can then be inserted into adverts. You might have keywords that are misspellings, and use a Placeholder for the correct spelling to appear in the advert. Or you could have keywords for different products, and use Placeholders for their price or special offer information.

Microsoft’s help page for dynamic text is here.

And Some More…

Negative keywords can be phrase or exact match, but not broad. Positive keywords can be broad match, phrase match or exact match (although broad match is a bit less broad than it is in AdWords).

AdCenter has demographic data available on searchers logged into Microsoft or MSN accounts. This means there are demographic targeting options, where you can exclude or change bids based on age group or gender. You can also get age group and gender reports.

AdCenter gives search query reports (available in the Report tab), but they do not give search query information for search terms that generate no clicks. The number of impressions given is not the actual number of impressions for a search term; adCenter only reports the number of impressions that occurred within an hour of a click.

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