3 Years With Microsoft adCenter – 3 Observations



Last week saw my 3rd anniversary of joining Microsoft. I remember my first day well, meeting my boss at Waterloo Station at 5am and hurtling to Paris on Eurostar to witness the first ever ad served by adCenter go live on MSN Search in France.

The first year was a bit of a blur. We were very much in start up mode in the UK. adCenter was developing all the time, we had people to hire in London and Dublin, processes needed ironing out, advertisers and agencies needed to be seen and talked to about our plans. It was a very exciting time.

Then shortly after we launched in the UK in August 2006, I got a new gig as adCenter Community Manager. Breaking new ground, we decided to dedicate a team to supporting advertisers online through blogs and forums. A whole new learning process started again. I spent many days away in Europe and the US at conferences, talking about adCenter and our online advertising plans in sessions, on panels and to individuals. I’ve made many friends in the process too.

The last year was very much about consolidating our successes – working out what we did well and continuing with that and ditching anything that didn’t work out. Anyone read The Dip?

We launched the adCenter Community Site including: Web Analytics BlogAPI BlogPPC Blog and all the associated user forums.

Answering pleas for educational materials we delivered adExcellence too, a comprehensive learning program for adCenter advertisers.

The next year will see more of the same only better.

On reflection I’ve made three observations during my time here:

· People are your greatest asset – sounds corny I know, but I’ve been amazed by the drive, enthusiasm, intelligence and sheer brain power of many of my colleagues. In most companies I’ve worked in these kind of people are counted on one hand. At Microsoft there are very few people that don’t fall into this category.

· You have to take responsibility – chatting to a mate from a company we recently acquired, he’s been amazed at how accountable you have to be working at Microsoft. Within days of starting here my boss said to me, “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with issues that you’ve solved or some solutions we can choose from together.” Working in a big company is not all about waiting for miles of red tape to unravel. It’s about being empowered to make decisions quickly and with the best of intentions – that’s why we were hired!

· Microsoft adCenter is getting there! Sure it had opportunities earlier in its life-time but did people really expect an AdWords beater straight out of the gate?

I’m very proud to have been working on the product for the last three years and love to get feedback like:

Microsoft Live Search Changes Gears

I came away from Friday’s Microsoft Adchamps event with a surprising feeling of confidence around their ability to make inroads into this market. On the day, they unveiled a raft of new tools to aid the serious search marketer and addressed some major concerns we’d all had about editorial approval, speed of the UI and policing of poor ads.

Microsoft Do Listen

Last year we asked for a desktop tool like adwords desktop.. and whoa did adCenter provide and provide well, on Friday we saw it in action and it kicked arse !!…….

Microsoft Quality Index

Microsoft are to start filtering PPC advertisers by market segment and website type in the UK, so that they can better use this segmentation to improve their “Quality Index”, the equivalent of the Google AdWords “Quality Score”. The news was met mostly with approval at AdChamps Europe.

Yahoo Google & Microsoft

So, on Friday, I heard all the right things on where live and adCenter are going, I did get a feeling more “what a shame for Yahoo”, than “F*** you Google”……

The MSN Desktop Editor Coming Soon… Screenshots!

The time has come for MSN AdCenter to make advertiser’s life soo much easier. I was particularly impressed by the fact that it seemed to have a more functionality than Google – hey, it’s Microsoft after all…. Massive Kudos to MSN for developing this tool!

Here’s to the next three……


  • Adam

    I think it’s great that you’re working in a productive environment with a group of some of the world’s most creative technology professionals. There’s no doubt in my mind that as a company Microsoft is loaded with talent. To me, Microsoft would be far more successful if they focused more on the development community and improving their natural search application since the core of making money in PPC is having people searching for things and being served the best, most relevant information whether it be ads or natural listings.

    The MSN Natural Search is still years behind Google and Yahoo, still lots of spam. Microsoft dropped its link: function out of the blue and replaced it with nothing…I think that was a turning point for me as an online marketer when I decided that they’re not very committed to their natural search and the online marketing community and I suppose I shouldn’t be either.

    Here’s my long-term logic: The real bread and butter of PPC is getting clicks and the foundation of getting those clicks is having enough searchers looking for relevant stuff to buy….but if people always get better results and and developers get better tools and information from Google, the next question is, why would they choose to search with MSN? I know of nobody who is partial to using MSN and in some instances that they even have their own search engine.

    I hope to see some advancements in Natural Search with all of those brilliant minds over there!

    Reply Posted 16 years ago
  • MelC

    Hi Adam

    You’re not alone in your feedback! And we are listening.

    I know this may be a “roll-your-eyes” moment but we are taking the long term view. It’s not a case of being able to create an alternative overnight but we are working on it.

    Innovations like Cashback and our purchases of aQuantive, Rapt, adECN and more recently PowerSet shows we’re committed to connecting advertisers to the millions of users that use our products ans services everyday.

    We are working on the next iteration of Webmaster Tools for Live Search so do keep an eye out for an announcement very soon…

    Do check out the adCenter Blog at http://www.adcentercommunity.com for updates on our PPC platform and Analytics tools too.

    Thanks again for your feedback!

    Reply Posted 16 years ago

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