This is the part 1 of a 2-part blog post comparing targeting features in AdWords and adCenter. The first post focuses on Language and Location targeting. Part two will cover targeting by Device, Time of Day/Day of Week, and Demographics.

Batman vs. Joker, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner, Google vs. Bing: just a few of the greatest rivalries of our time. In these scenarios we always find ourselves rooting for one side or the other (was I the only one who wanted Coyote to catch the roadrunner just once?). However, if you want to be successful in the PPC world you can’t choose just one. Both Google and Bing’s share of the U.S search market grew last month, so although you may have a favorite it’s time to get comfortable using each of them.

The key to PPC success is having the right ads, showing to the right customers, at the right time. I’ve become pretty good at using AdWords’ targeting features to get my ads in front of the intended audience. I must admit though, I haven’t dedicated as much time as I should have to learning and testing adCenter’s targeting features. This post will let you to follow along with me in learning about all that adCenter has to offer and how similar or different these features are to AdWords.

Targeting Overview

AdWords and adCenter offer similar targeting options, but the approach each search engine takes is a bit different.  The targeting options fall under five main categories:

  1. Language
  2. Location
  3. Device
  4. Time of Day/Day of Week
  5. Demographics

Below are screen shots of the campaign settings page for both Google and MSN. The location of each targeting function corresponds with the number from the above list.

Google: Campaign > Settings Tab

 MSN: Campaign > Change Settings

In MSN these campaign targeting options can also be set at the ad group level. The targeting section on the ad group settings page is identical to the campaign targeting section.

The rest of this post will take a closer look at Language and Location targeting. They are the two most frequently used targeting options and are utilized differently each search engine. Understanding these differences and adjusting your strategy is necessary to running successful PPC campaigns.


Language Targeting

The language targeting setting aids in determining which user will see your ads. This is the setting where I found the most disparity between AdWords and adCenter.

Google AdWords – Languages

Google offers 40 different language options for campaign targeting. AdWords compares your campaign language setting to users’ Google interface settings. If the languages match, that user will see your ads. There is no maximum number of languages you can select per campaign, but since Google does not translate your ads best practice is to target one language per campaign. You can edit your language setting options at any time.

Microsoft AdCenter – Language and Market Setting

You may have noticed that there is no language targeting feature in the AdCenter campaign targeting section. That is because language and market is set only at the ad group level. To view this setting, go to any ad group in your AdCenter account and click Change settings.

Here you can see the target language and market, but you will not be able to edit it. The language and market must be set when you create an ad group and it cannot be changed later. If you want to target more than one language or market you have to set up multiple ad groups.

The language setting indicates in which language the ads will be written, and the market determines the set of websites through which the ads are distributed. For the above ad group, ads will need to be written in English or Spanish in order to pass the review process. Its target market is the United States so ads will only show when users search on sites like or

AdCenter currently offers six language and market options:

  • English – Canada
  • English – UK
  • English – Singapore
  • English and Spanish – United States
  • French – Canada
  • French – France

Location Targeting

Google AdWords: Locations

When you edit locations for a campaign you are taken to AdWords interactive map targeting tool. There are five ways you can specify location targeting:

  • Search for countries, territories, regions and cities
  • Select a preset bundle of locations
  • Choose a point on the map and set a radius around it that you want to target
  • Target a custom shape
  • Exclude areas within your selected location

Once you select your location Google takes into account three factors to target your ads to these users:

  1. Google Domain – if a user searches on the domain the will see ads targeted to the United Kingdom.
  2. Search Term – if a user enters a search term that contains a city or region, they can see ads targeted to that region.
  3. Internet Protocol Address – Google uses the IP to determine a users location and shows ads targeted to that area.

Microsoft AdCenter: Geographic

Location targeting in AdCenter can be done at the campaign or the ad group level. Campaign locations settings apply to all ad groups, but will be trumped by an ad group location setting. When you click Edit for any of the targeting settings in AdCenter, a new window will appear and you can select the targeting option you want to edit from the right hand column.

Microsoft offers fewer ways to target locations in comparison to Google. Currently, you can target by city, metro, state/province, and country/region.  You can target ads to almost any country. Click Show all countries/regions to view the complete list of available locations.

Once you select your locations, a box will appear at the top of the map allowing you to set incremental bids for each location. You can increase your bids in 10 percent increments, from 0-100 percent.

If you still want display your ads everywhere, but only increase bids for certain locations, make sure to check Display ads in other locations.

AdCenter determines a searcher’s location using reverse-IP address lookup.  Unlike Google, the search term is not taken into account. What does this mean for your ad? Let’s say you run a local flower shop in New York. You set your location targeting to “New York (state/province). If a person in Texas searches for “flower delivery shop in New York” using Google may see your ad, whereas a person using Bing will not. This would be an instance where you might increase bids for New York searchers but still select to display your ads in other locations.

The concept behind language and location targeting for these two search engines is the same. They help to make sure are ads are shown to the intended audience. The difference comes in how these features function. Hopefully you’ve learned a little more about the similarities and differences in Google and Bing’s targeting features and can use this information to improve your PPC account. Stay tuned for part two where we’ll look at targeting by Device, Time of Day/Day of Week, and Demographics.

As always, we love hearing from our readers. If you have any questions or comments please post below!