Live from #SMX East: Best Practices With adCenter For Bing & Yahoo

By Chad Rhodes | Sep 14, 2011
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My early afternoon session at SMX East 2011 is titled Best Practices With adCenter For Bing & Yahoo. Allan Chuate, Tim Daly, Kunal Das, and Joseph Kerschbaum are discussing not only best practices with Microsoft adCenter, but also some of the key differences between it and AdWords Editor. Anyone who is using Bing and Yahoo, with or without adCenter Desktop, should definitely consider some of this information. You could be missing out on a lot of opportunities to improve your performance and efficiency.

Joeseph Kerschbaum – Vice President of Clix Marketing

What is the adCenter quality score, and what does it actually do?
The adCenter quality score does not affect your campaign performance.What it does do/not do:

  • Tracks the competitiveness of your campaign in the marketplace
  • Does not affect ad position
  • Does not impact CPC

3 Metrics of the adCenter Quality Score

Keyword Relevance

  • CTR (the core metric)
  • Match type level scores

It is also noteworthy that there are no quality scores on mobile or the content network, that CTR’s and ad position are normalized, and quality scores are calculated every day.

Landing Page User Experience

  •  Load time
  • Ad links
  • Original content
  • Interstitial landing pages

Landing Page Relevance

  • Keyword targeted
  • Description meta tag
  • Keyword meta tag
  • Image alt tag
  • Title tag

Specific Quality Score Performance Metrics

  • Keyword relevance – scored 1-3 where 3 = good, 2 = no problems and 1 = poor
  • Landing page relevance – scored 1-2
  • Landing page experience – scored 1-2

You have to add the quality score column into your report or it won’t be there when you run it!

Quality Score by Match Type
Exact match is more competitive than the other match types, and the CTR is dramatically increased and thus has a high quality score than other match types. Landing page user experience is not affected by match type. This implies it is not a super sensitive score. Landing page relevance does change based on match type. Again, exact match outperforms the other match types. Exact and phrase match tend to have drastically higher conversion rates than broad too.

How to Use the Quality Score to Optimize Your Account
Figure out the keywords that are already performing well based on your KPI’s. You won’t have to work with these. It is more important to use the quality score to analyze your poor performing keywords.

If the keyword quality score is poor

  • Streamline your ad group structure
  • Improve relevance of your ads
  • Enhance the quality of your ads
  • Conduct your kw research (negatives too)
  • Analyze your keywords and match types

If landing page relevance is poor

  • Insert keywords into body copy
  • Meta tags
  • Image alt tags
  • Utilize specific targeted landing pages

If user experience is poor

  • Review for duplicate content
  • Avoid interstitial landing pages
  • Remove multiple third part ad’s (a few are fine)

Is there a correlation between adCenter and AdWords as far as keyword quality score?
Normally there is a correlation between well performing keywords on AdCenter and on AdWords. Basically, if you have a keyword that is performing poorly based on quality score on both engines, it is probably just a bad keyword to use. If the quality score is drastically different between the two, consider contacting a rep from the engine with the poor score.
Quality score is reported in AC every day. Take advantage of this! You can make a difference and see how you are directly influencing your account every day.

Tim Daly – CEO of Vincodo

What Should I Know About Bing?

  • They represent around 20% of the quality search queries online
  • Offers a higher quality source of traffic which is more likely to revert
  • Competitive pressure is lower, leading to potential for increased ROI
  • If you are not on Bing you are leaving some huge potential profits behind

Idiosyncrasies of Bing

  • Even though Bing has consistently high results, you cannot just copy and paste your Google campaign into Bing. It will fail.

Bid Management

  • Since there is lower competition you can lower your bids, leading to lower CPC’s
  • Best practice is to lower your bids and achieve similar ad position before you compare performance between Google and Bing

Match Types

  • Bing has the same match types as Google
  • You can loosen your match types a little versus Google, but beware of recent matching logic changes in Bing, as broad match is loosening up

Negative Matching

  • Bing only offers phrase match negatives
  • Be very wary of transferring your Google negatives to Bing, or you might be blocking quality traffic
  • This is a large issue for single word terms. This can be worked around by adjusting your positive match keywords to work more closely with your negative match

Ad distribution is an issue when it comes to the partner networks, especially with Yahoo Search Partner Network. While some improvement has occurred over the last 6 months, there are still not a lot of people having success with it. In addition to poor quality traffic, there are even issues with fraudulent sites. Bing does offer an option to exclude non-performing search partners, but good luck trying to get rid of them all! Mr. Daly suggests that only people bidding low, less than a dollar, attempt to use search partners.

There have been some algorithm changes. These updates are much more volatile than those on Google. They can appear in any portion of your campaign, across the board, just in one industry, or in basically any sub-component of your campaign. These changes can be instant, usually on a Monday morning, and can have huge impacts on your performance. Trend identification is key to finding these algorithm changes and adjusting your account quickly to avoid excessive costs driven by an algorithm change.

Allan Chuate – Regional Manager of Search Strategy at Yahoo!

Optimization Best Practices for adCenter


Expanding your keyword is extremely important to maintaining and improving your performance on adCenter. Exact match words and ads perform much better on adCenter and it is highly suggested that you try to increase your exact match traffic. Consider copying words from Google, or using some of the available Microsoft tools. Search query reports are also a great way to find potential keywords.


Bidding by match type within the same ad group is highly suggested. It is also suggested that you use 75% of your exact match bid as your phrase match bid, and 85% of your exact match bids as your broad match bid. This is suggested by phrase and broad match typically perform at 75% and 85% of exact match respectively.

Ad Copy

When creating new ads, use action phrases. Competitive advantages can be emphasized in your ads to help you stand out in the marketplace, thus improving your performance. Keyword insertion and {param2} ads are also highly suggested.

Content Ads

Content ads are currently underutilized on Bing. To help change that and help people use them more effectively here are some best practices:

  • Separate content ads from search campaigns
  • Use relevant, high volume keywords
  • Apply and test targeting
  • Create custom reports
  • Use site targeting, which includes individual Yahoo and Microsoft properties

Mobile sponsored search

With over 650 million mobile searches a month, there I s a lot of potential with mobile sponsored ads on Yahoo Search and Bing. Consider using geo-targeting and mobile carrier selection.

Kunal Das – Bing Evangelist at Microsoft

AdCenter doesn’t want to just catch up to competitors, but actually go beyond and create new features that aren’t available anywhere else. Their goals include:

  • Improve ad performance and increase volume
  • Enhanced campaign insights
  • Make the platform easy to use


Plural terms can offer huge benefits to your campaigns. That is why Bing matches your singular form keywords to plural terms automatically. The goal is to give you more traffic. However, adCenter has left control up to advertisers if they choose to block singular or plural versions of their keywords.


The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool is an Excel plug-in tool available for keyword research and optimization. Although it is little known, it can be a great way to expand your accounts using real Bing query data. It will give you’re a lot of useful data, like KPI’s, pricing data, and more. The tool can be downloaded online for free. Search for it on Bing and it should be the first result (I hope…).


The adCenter desktop tool can help increase your productivity. If you have been frustrated with it, make sure you have the newest version. Microsoft has been working hard and using feedback from users to improve it. Some of the new features include the ability to:

  • View and apply filters by quality score
  • Copy and paste settings
  • Import campaigns from other search engines
  • Better use location targeting

The Future of adCenter

  • New navigation functionality
  • Improved negative keyword matching
  • Share of voice reporting
  • Opportunities tab
  • Enhanced mobile targeting options
  • Visual and descriptive notifications and alerts
  • Google PI import with AdWords credentials

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