Update: You can now get a $50 Microsoft Adcenter promotional credit when you sign up.

MSN AdCenter was a bit late to the PPC game and had a lot of catching up to do. I think they rolled out a decent product and have a few features that set it apart, namely targeting. The biggest problem with them is market share.

MSN AdCenter Pros:

  • They offer demographic targeting that allows you to specify spending increases depending on sex, age, income.
  • Quality of traffic seems pretty high

MSN AdCenter Cons:

  • Response times to stopping or pausing campaigns are notoriously bad.
  • Pretty low volume of searches overall in their system

When I first started the campaign I was advertising women’s jewelry so I set “-man, -boy, -cheap, …” keywords as negatives right in the same list of keywords. Well, it turns out MSN has a negative keyword matching system that’s completely separate from the rest of the keyword system and they ignore any minus signs in the keyword list, taking the word as a keyword instead.

So over a course of about 4 days, I had jewelry ads running for “play boy” and “man love”. It was coincidentally during a weekend when they were upgrading their system so it was down all of that Saturday. So the time for me to notice this in the analytics, plus the time before I was able to login and correct this, plus the time it took for them to change it over (like I said – slow response times) – added up to about 4 days of really untargeted ads and wasted money.