The New PPC Kid in Town

If you use Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly known as Overture) for your pay per click advertising, you’ll want to “listen up”. There’s a new competitor on the scene:  “MSN Ad Center.”  Microsoft’s pay per click program is called “MSN Keywords” which is the first of several advertising options they have planned.

At the time of this writing the only way to participate in this “pilot program” is by invitation. Rumor has it they should be going public with the launch towards the middle of this year. If you’d like to be considered for participation you can sign up at:

The program, which is very similar to Google Adwords, allows you to bid on keywords associated with your online business and your ads will be displayed on MSN’s search results pages reaching a potential audience of 49 million people every month.

Once approved for the program, you’ll need to create your own “ad center” account. The sign up fee of $5.00 will be charged to your credit card at that time.

The next step is to select the keywords you want your ads to appear for and how much you want to bid for each. The minimum bid is five cents. You’re only charged for actual clicks on your ads not for their display. There is no minimum monthly budget. You’ll also find a keyword research tool under the research tab to brainstorm new keywords or check on keyword performance.

If you already use “Google Adwords” or “Yahoo Search Marketing,” I’m told you can easily import your existing ads and keyword lists. If you need assistance, you can use what’s called “Quick Launch” where a marketing analyst will assist you with your account setup. During beta there is no charge for this assistance.

One of the nicest features of MSN’s pay-per-click program is the “advanced targeting.” You can select the target markets you want to reach (male, female, by age). You also can select locations, specific countries/regions, even select cities where you want your ads to appear.

How about choosing the days of the week you want your ads to run, right down to the time? Yes, you can do it all right here. This is possible due to MSN’s use of “audience data” to better target your ads to the audience who would be most interested in your offer. They call this “Audience Intelligence,” which allows you to make smarter decisions when it comes to your online marketing campaigns.

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Setting up your text ads is simple following their guidelines. You have four lines to work with:

Title Line (25 characters max, incl. spaces)
2nd & 3rd Line (70 characters max, incl. spaces)
4th Line (this is for your URL, 35 characters)

You’ll find a “reports tab” in the ad center so you can keep an eye on how well your campaigns are doing. You can track click through rates, impressions, and more.

If you’re already using pay per click marketing in your online marketing efforts, you might want to take MSN for a spin. With their advanced targeting, you’ll be given the ability to hit your target market with more precision, and expand your reach and online exposure.

For more information visit the learning center:

Am I using this new service?  No… not at this time, but my marketing has different needs than perhaps yours does.  If you’re currently using Google AdWords or Yahoo (formerly Overture PPC), you might want to see if they’ll take you while still in beta…

At this time, we have no plans to offer any sort of monitoring service or set up for MSN’s new PPC service.  Just wanted you to know about it, in case you’re interested.