If you’re managing accounts in multiple search engines, implementing universal changes can be a challenge. Clunky user interfaces, variances in data column names, inconsistent report type availability, all contribute to less than efficient management of otherwise similar information. So, I thought it would be helpful to provide some best practices in managing your PPC campaigns across multiple search engines. Since Google AdWords and MSN AdCenter are the most commonly utilized platforms, I will be focusing on the best ways to manage accounts simultaneously in AdWords and AdCenter.

First, let’s cover the data that you can keep uniform between AdWords and AdCenter:

  • Campaign Structure
  • General Campaign Settings (geo-targeting, negative keywords, etc.)
  • Ad Text
  • Keyword Lists

Campaign data can easily be imported into AdCenter from AdWords through the AdCenter user interface. In AdCenter, go to the Tools menu in the top nav, and then click on the link to import your campaign:

From there, you can download an import template to copy and paste your Google campaign data. This tool can only be used initially; once your account is setup in AdCenter you can’t use it to upload changes without overwriting your account, which would erase all historical data. To upload changes to your existing account, you’ll need to use AdCenter’s desktop editor, though this is currently not available for Mac users.

If you are able to access AdCenter Desktop editor, you can simply mirror changes to ad text and keyword lists (additions, status) by uploading the same reports into AdWords and AdCenter. Just be aware that AdCenter uses slightly different column headings for this data, so be sure to edit your column titles before uploading into AdCenter. If you upload data into AdCenter with an incorrect title AdCenter will show you an error, but doesn’t always specify that your data had a wrong identifier. I have spent hours trying to debug upload issues, only to realize my campaigns were labeled “campaign name” instead of just “campaign.” So, double check these initially and you’ll save yourself a lot of time troubleshooting.

Negative keyword lists can easily be copied from Google to MSN. If you have the desktop editor, you can upload them this way, but if not, I haven’t found it too cumbersome to copy and paste my negative lists into the AdCenter UI since you can do so on the campaign level.

As for more granular account changes, like bid changes, I honestly can’t recommend a work-around for doing them on a per-platform basis. Your keywords/products will inevitably perform differently in each search engine, so you’ll need to monitor and change these separately in Google and Bing. And the same is true for your ad performance. If you’re adding new ad text it’s fine to upload the same new ads to both platforms, but in terms of monitoring performance you’ll have to do this per search engine. Like keywords, your ads will perform differently in each search engine.

Some other things to consider are keyword match type. Keep in mind that when you’re implementing your Google keyword lists in Bing that Bing won’t let you manage your keyword match types individually, i.e. you can’t pause only the broad match type of a keyword, Bing will force you to pause broad, phrase and exact for that keyword. If you’re finding that one match type does much better or worse in Bing, then you’ll want to rethink your campaign structure to segment keywords by match type in separate campaigns.

I hope these tips help you streamline managing both an AdWords and AdCenter account simultaneously. Feel free to share any tips of your own in the comments section below!