MSN AdCenter Match Types Can Determine Your Ad Position
Elizabeth Marsten Mar 24 2010
Recently I was able to ask some more specific “PPC nerd” questions of an AdCenter rep and got to really drill down into match types, the way the keywords are “locked” together, ad position and how it’s been changed since Bing came online.
For those that don’t know, AdCenter keywords are unique for match types in that they are “locked” together which means that while it’s cool that you can easily separate and combine them in the edit feature to see the stats and judge performance, it’s not cool that you cannot pause a match type, you simply have to remove it in order to keep the other match types of that same keyword available.
Which as a feature is fine, easy to get around with and work with. But what if you are brand new to paid search on the AdCenter platform? What do they recommend for testing on match types?
“We suggest that all advertisers use all 3 match types for a minimum of three weeks and then determine which match type gives the best results on our platform and then remove those that are not performing well. This being said, to achieve consistent display in the mainline you might want to consider opening the match types to allow for bids to be placed on the additional match types thus ensuring the display remains more consistent. With maintaining the match types open consistently, this will ensure that you will “catch” all the relevant traffic for your keywords.”
So basically, you’d like me throw everything up on the wall and see what sticks? And I pay for every toss at the wall? The traffic estimates in the keyword tool then, is that for an exact match or all 3? (I also like how it’s 3 weeks. Can you say “low, sad amounts of traffic?”)
OK, fine. Let’s say I take your advice and do this. What do the different match types have to do with position preference?
“The ads in the mainline are first from the advertisers that are bidding on exact and phrase match types on the keywords will have higher priority over the advertisers bidding on only the broad match keywords on our platform. By bidding on all three options available it ensures that you will be in the first two batches of “look over’s” for matches to the search query.”
I see. Basically, your targeting is unable to determine relevancy well enough, so despite my use of a set of broad keywords with the appropriate negatives in attempt to pull in more traffic because your search engine has none and also where I am using your tool “update all bids for best position” I can never actually attain that #1 slot if another advertiser is bidding on the phrase match because mine is a broad match, despite the relevancy?
(Note: Even if I were to add the keyword for all 3 different match types, the total number of impressions becomes split between the 3 anyway. So wouldn’t that show that the actual number of impressions garnered is no different than using broad alone? It’s all just a matter of establishing ad position?)
While I actually see some sense in what AdCenter is trying to do with position preference and their attempt to make that “connection” with the searcher, I don’t think they’re going about it quite the right way.
I tried to verify this in the AdCenter Help Center and look up guidelines specifically pertaining to ad position and keyword match types, none of this information is available. In fact, it doesn’t look like it’s been updated since 2008. I tried also hunting through the forums and blog posts on MSN AdCenter, but could not find anything that directly and specifically stated that keywords with the match type of phrase or exact, receive preferential position over a broad keyword.
Post script from AdCenter themselves:
“I apologize for the confusion you are having with regard to match types on adCenter. To be clear, we give preference to the exact match type from within an advertiser’s own campaign – if available – before selecting either a qualifying phrase or broad match.
As for ranking them into positions across the marketplace, that is not determined by match type, rather by performance and relevance (among other factors). If a phrase match is more relevant and performs better than an exact match (which is not always common) – we will serve the phrase match.
Using an internal tool, I have verified this expected behavior on the example query: “hdtv satellite”. Here is the case where we are serving both a broad (“satellite”) and a phrase (“satellite hdtv”) match in a higher position than an exact (“hdtv satellite”) match keyword.
Thanks for your feedback. I’ll also reach out to our adCenter help team to ensure that their content is up to date. Aaron Lauper, adCenter Product Manager”
So one AdCenter rep says “The ads in the mainline are first from the advertisers that are bidding on exact and phrase match types on the keywords will have higher priority over the advertisers bidding on only the broad match keywords on our platform” and the other says ” and this rep says “we give preference to the exact match type from within an advertiser’s own campaign”.
Could this confusion have been avoided? I’m going with….. yes. At least now maybe we’ll get better documentation. I don’t believe that forums are an appropriate substitution for what should be documented best practices like this.
Sorry MSN, Google’s shown that help centers and manuals can be done and done well when it comes to PPC education. You’re just going to have to step up your game.
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VP of Search Marketing
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO, Social Media and Content. Check out her modest brag link bundle if you really want to know more: http://bitly.com/bundles/ebkendo/5 She has also written ebooks, is a ClickZ columnist, a Lynda.com author, a Dummies book author and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences including the SMX shows, mozCon and Hero Con. Read More
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