Microsoft preps next version of its adCenter online-ad platform

Microsoft is showing off at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) show in New York this week the next version of its adCenter online ad platform.

Microsoft is showing off at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) show in New York this week the next version of its adCenter online ad platform.

Microsoft introduced the first version of adCenter in May 2006.

Microsoft's new adCenter interfaceMicrosoft plans to switch out the current adCenter user interface for the beta adCenter one later this month, said James Colborn, adCenter product manager. Microsoft has been testing the updated adCenter release among existing adCenter customers, as well as with its ContentAds contextual-advertising pilot users, Colborn said.

New in the next-version adCenter UI are updated campaign-management and navigation tools, as well as a few brand-new features. Some of the new ones Microsoft is highlighting this week include:

* Pop-up help

* More options to manage negative keywords (For example, a five-star hotel may not want to match on the words ‘cheap’ or budget.)

* Bulk campaign management tools for bulk edits and bulk deletes on keywords

* A Favorites list for tag ads, keywords and campaigns with which advertisers plan to interact on a regular basis.

* Improved, more Windows-like "family" breadcrumbing for navigating between campaigns and keywords

"We rebuilt the middle tier of adCenter over," said adCenter Product Manager Natala Menezes. "Now it's faster and supports better navigation.

On April 12 at SES, Microsoft plans to show off another new adCenter capability: a business-intelligence front-end based on Microsoft Excel for adCenter's keyword services platform. The front end, developed by adLabs -- the joint venture between Microsoft's adCenter and Microsoft Research units -- will allow advertisers to manage and view at a more granular level various data from their search campaigns.

It's not clear when Microsoft will release the new business-intelligence tool to adCenter customers.

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