Taking the Microsoft AdExcellence Exam Part 4

Moving on the part 4 in the Microsoft adExcellence Exam series, we explore the Tracking Ad Performance section. After this, you’re more than half way there!

Microsoft Adcenter Reports (3:22)

This section just explains where to find the reporting features and what kinds of reports where are.

  • There are 3 types of reports: Delivery, Budget and Targeting.
  • Set basic settings, then do optional advanced settings for additional accounts, columns and layout.
  • Create templates and schedule them if desired. Report email is generated and sent to you with a link- which means you need to login to adCenter to review it.
  • The report center holds the 20 most recent run.
  • “Rich visual charts” and tables are the benefits of these reports for account optimization and effectiveness.

Where is my adCenter Ad? (14:54)

This one is pretty epic in size. It’s basically the video they’d like everyone to watch before calling the 1-800 number for help and goes over several scenarios in which you might not see your ad and what to do if so.

  • The process is: ad submitted, ad reviewed, ad approved, ad goes live.
  • If the ad is not approved there is an email notice. Be sure to wait a “few hours” after submittal before checking to see if you ad is live or not yet.

Know these reasons on why you might not see your ads:

  • quality based ad rank is lower than competitor’s ads
  • minimum ad performance threshold isn’t being met
  • targeting options not correct
  • daily/monthly budget has been reached
  • ad group/campaign has passed its end date
  • Use the ad preview tool to see ads before they are live.

Then we dive a little deeper on the above reasons for not being able to find your ad.

  • Check for impressions- if the “data summary table” on the user interface dashboard is blank, run a delivery report to see if the account/campaign/ad group in question has registered any impressions.
  • Improve your quality based ad rank- the basic answer to this one is to increase bids. You can do an update of performance estimates and see if upping the bid will assist with the problem or not.
  • Search queries- if you’re bidding on exact, consider changing the match type to increase impressions.
  • Targeting- check the time, geography, language first. Bing users are displayed to and grouped by IP address, along with language settings.
  • If the account has zero impressions- check that the account status is active and that the credit card is also active. If a credit card is rejected, it is tried 3 times total and then if unsuccessful, goes on credit hold. To undo this, add a different credit card or call adCenter support. This type of incident will show up in the alerts panel on the dashboard.
  • Several times through out the video they mentioned to make sure that something isn’t deleted, or set to pause like a credit card, account or keyword list. This must be a common issue.
  • Budget pause occurs when your campaign has spent more or is spending more than allowed to stay on track for the monthly budget. To remove a budget pause, increase the budget to 20% more and the campaign with restart. The cycle will begin anew again on the first of the following month with the new budget in place.
  • If anything is expired, deleted, paused, disapproved or draft- it won’t show.

Editorial Review (11:30)

Another whopper of a video- but this is one of the few worth the watch. I wish they would actually take out some of the great graphs/charts they have in here and put them in the Help Center.

  • If there is an editorial issue as you are creating ads etc; an “inline editorial guidelines” popup box will list out what the issues are.
  • There is a rehash of the disapproved notifications, where they are and what is emailed and what isn’t.
  • There is a great chart for Table of Editorial Review that has descriptions of editorial issues and solutions to solve them.
  • In the user interface, look to the ads and keyword status columns to see feedback and a flyout box to click and see links on how to fix the issue being flagged.
  • Items that can fail editorial review pertain to style, grammar, punctuation, misspellings and disallowed characters like – [ ] @ * . The takeaway tip is that if you’re going to bid on misspellings with dynamic text use the param function over the keyword one.
  • Know that abbreviations are OK as long as they are common usage.
  • Phone numbers are not allowed in title or text unless it’s part of the company name.
  • Appealing a disapproval- go to the Help Page in adCenter and click “more help” to get support via email or phone.
  • Support can take up to 10 business days.
  • If the disapproved goes through the request for exception and is denied twice, the decision is final and cannot be appealed again.

Campaign Analytics (12:18)

So I forgot to watch this one before I took the test. I still passed easily, so that should give you some insight…plus the tutorial breaks after slide #6-9, which if you sit and wait for a full minute, it comes back in, for each slide, unfortunately. It does pick up the regular load time for slides 10-11 though. (Yes, I tried viewing in Firefox and IE.) AND also unfortunately- if you are planning on utilizing their analytics this is a video you should watch from start to finish.

  • The first few slides are selling points on why you analytics are important (to measure ROI).
  • Definitions of conversion, conversion tracking, analytics, tracking code.
  • Where/how to “enable” tracking (check the checkbox for starters) where MSN will generate the tracking code.
  • If you click the “limit to individual campaign conversions only” the system won’t track what they call “additional stats” like revenue and cost. This option must also be enabled manually for each campaign that you want it to apply to.
  • Paste the code into the pages you want to track.
  • NOT checking the “limit” checkbox means that the tracking option will apply to all campaigns in the account.

Creating Goals

  • Click “create goal” and name it appropriately (like purchase or sign up). A goal can have up to 6 steps to get to the goal, the only required step is the conversion step.
  • There are 3 types of steps:
    • Land- of which there can only be one per goal, it’s the page where the visitor lands.
    • Browse- there can be up to 5 of these, they are the pages visitors pass through on their way to a specific page.
    • Prospect- a page that a visitor visits that indicates a conversion is likely- i.e. placing an item in a shopping cart. There can be up to 5 prospect steps.

Revenue and cost tracking for conversion steps

This is where you assign revenue/cost values for the steps. There are three types: none, constant and variable. Do not put in any currency symbols.

Constant- is when your value for the conversion stays the same, like a fee, a single product etc; When you run the report for goals, the system takes this value as the sale value and multiplies that by the number of conversions for total revenue.

Variable- this one requires Javascript knowledge. And I quote “write a Javascript function to return the transaction amount then call it from the tracking code generated for your webpage.”


Cost to Track- Again, you need to complete this for it to work- add specific costs (like shipping or tax) to the tracking code or as Javascript functions.

Conversion Period- is a set number of days you can choose from the drop down for the sales cycle.

Once everything has been selected/setup, save, generate code by picking a step (example: conversion step code to paste into the receipt page). And yes, you need to select each step, generate the code and go paste onto the appropriate page on your website.

An ACCOUNT can have up to 6 goals.

Adding Custom Report Dimensions

“Custom report dimensions allow you to track the performance of ad campaigns served through third party services.” As in, other search engines- but you have to append all destination URLs with dimension parameters.


  • Tactic (affiliate, email, ppc- a/k/a medium)
  • Channel (Google, Facebook- a/k/a source)
  • 3rd Party Campaign (whatever the name of the campaign is)
  • 3rd Party Ad Group (the ad group name)
  • 3rd Party Term (term that generated the visit)
  • Enter a “key” to represent the dimension (i.e chnl for channel)
  • Set value by entering the name of the value**the value and then append to the destination URL. So as in the screenshot, the Microsoft Media Network is classified as a channel by the abbreviation MMN and expressed as &chnl=MMN
  • You can add up to 100 values per dimension
  • Once a value is saved it CANNOT be deleted, only edited.

Campaign Analytics Reports

This section simply explains that there are several reports that will become available to you if you enable tracking in the reporting section:

Goal Reports, Traffic Sources Reports, Segments Reports and Tactics & Channels Reports.

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