Early this morning, the adCenter blog published 5 posts detailing all of the changes they’ve pushed live as part of their Spring 2009 Upgrade.  Microsoft continues to drive their advertising platform forward, and unlike Google who releases a new feature every other day, the folks at adCenter prefer a mega-upgrade instead.  Guess that adds to the excitement.  While there’s nothing earth-shattering to report, Microsoft has added enough pizazz to this upgrade that users of adCenter should pay attention.  Here is my list of highlights from the full upgrade:

Campaign Management

  • Targeting Options:  This is probably the best change (IMHO).  Microsoft has made it possible for advertisers to apply customer targeting at the campaign level.  Customer targeting includes demographic, time/day and geographic settings.  Previously, these targeting options were only available at the ad group level.  Those ad group settings will override any changes made at the campaign level.
  • Improved Keyword Research Tools:  While I’ll freely admit that I’m typically a Google Keyword Tool guy, the adCenter research tools are pretty nice.  In this upgrade, Microsoft has added new functionality such as filters, keyword level performance and demographic data and the ability to bid on a keyword to review its estimated performance.

Account Management

  • Homepage & Alerts:  My reaction?  Meh.  Imagine the AdWords Account Summary page and *whalah!* you’ve got the new adCenter homepage.
  • Account Settings:  Double meh.  I suppose this is vital information, but it didn’t really necessitate a separate announcement post.  Now you can choose which alerts you can receive, and more settings can be accessed in the same place with this upgrade.

adCenter Desktop

  • Performance: Microsoft has graciously increased the amount of data you can manage in Desktop to more than 100,000 keywords per account.  Additionally, you can download specific accounts individually (previously, if you had 5 sub-accounts under 1 login, you had to download them all at once).  And most importantly, Microsoft has increased upload/download speeds to the point that you can now work on one account while another uploads or downloads.  I like increased productivity!
  • Import Preview:  Not life-changing, but this is a nice touch.  Before you upload anything to adCenter, you know have the option to preview those changes.
  • City/State Targeting:  Previously, if you wanted to update City or State targeting options you had to be logged into adCenter online.  Now, you can update City and State options directly from Desktop.

Content Ads

  • Reporting:  Microsoft has added a “site performance” report for a “deeper understanding” of your ads’ performance on their content network.
  • Site Exclusion: To go with the new reporting, you can now exclude under performing sites at the campaign and ad group level.
  • Placements: And on the flip-side of that coin, you can also target content sites as placements.  You can choose up to 1000 websites or individual pages to target in this fashion.

Not to bash Microsoft too much, but the majority of these upgrades simply bring adCenter up-to-date with Google AdWords (i.e. Account Summary page, placements/site exclusion/content reporting, etc.).  Regardless, it’s good to see Microsoft listening to customer feedback and taking the initiative to advance their PPC product.