Thursday, March 27th, 2008

CPA Marketing Series – Making Heads Or Tails With MSN Adcenter

Finally back and ready to go. Fortunately we get to talk about a potentially really cheap source of paid traffic but on the other hand we are going to deal with a company that hires some of the dumbest most unknowledgeable people to help act as their PPC “specialists”. In case you are wondering, here is one of the conversations I have had with a MSN Adcenter Rep awhile back. So to answer a lot of questions that have already been asked, YES, keyword stuffing FTW on Adcenter. Now I am not saying to go stuff thousands of keywords on a landing page and expect the approved keywords to fall from the heaven. Shit dont work that way. It might work here and there but for the most part that is a really lazy to try and do shit and you’re likely to burn a lot of budget. Now having a landing page relevant to say 50 keywords at a time? You bet your ass. Ruckles loves doing this to MSN. Especially at the speed you can spit landing pages out…or at least the speed I can.

Dont abuse the fact that you can game Adcenter with keyword stuffing. Their bot is a sensitive little prick, their staff is normally slow, and their “specialist” whom you will be calling are as fast as snails. Relevancy is still key with MSN with a touch of “we know how to game you easy”. MSN Adcenter is really secretive about their Relevancy Formula. Of course we can figure that your Bids and CTR play important roles in the formula but everything else is very foreign. As a matter of fact, from what I have seen for quite awhile now is that nobody over there really knows anything about it either. I only say this because I get the same ole stuttering “I have sausage in my mouth and cant speak right” type of responses. You should always appeal any keywords that get disapproved. I highly suggest that you call them. You get to experience how bright their specialists are first hand. Sometimes you can literally run circles around them while at other times you may think about putting a loaded gun in your mouth. It’s a crap-shoot but you should appeal anyway.


First off you need to familiarize yourself with Adcenter. With this PPC Engine you would consider the Adcenter Community Blog your bible. Read it back to front. Watch, read and experience all the changes MSN has gone thru over the last year. This is only going to equip you even more in understanding them better. Another thing is that you need to completely familiarize yourself with the Advertising FAQ’s. Another resource that requires you to completely familiarize yourself with. This is not rocket science but understanding EACH PPC source is essential. After-all, it’s your money you’re spending.

Users And Positioning – My Experience And Theories

Of course everyone reading the CPA Marketing series is looking for some type of edge to dabble in the CPA Marketing Industry. Probably because I make it sound so simple. I can assure that this has come from thousands of hours working and researching over the span of almost 3 years now. Even when I do throw gems out there, you still have to test this stuff yourself. Just because it works for me does not mean it will work for you. Why? It’s because I dont give you any clue as to what markets I like. So keep that in mind.

In my experience, positions 1-3 in MSN work the best. I really hate being in the right side of the results. Why? Ok here is where I may confuse you and it will also look like I am contradicting myself. MSN’s users are much like the people who ride the short bus. Consider a spectrum if you will. At one end you have the “slow” crowd (this is MSN) and at the other end you have “advanced” thinking people (this is Google). The reason I say this is not to put them down but rather to make a very solid point. The MSN Search Engine comes pre-installed on millions of pre-manufactured machines. I worked as a Wal-Mart Distribution Operator for a little over 5 years. Our job was to supply over 50 Wal Mart stores and SuperCenters with the freight they are supposed to unpack and sell. Never once in over 5 years did I EVER see a computer that DID NOT have the default MSN Search Engine pre-installed. Every computer I have ever seen roll thru there had MSN on it and every computer I have ever seen pre-manufactured thru Wal-Mart, Best Buy etc… has MSN has the default engine. Sure there might be others but MSN ALMOST completely owns this market. With that said you have to think about the people that are buying pre-made computers.

Ugghhh…I can tell you right now that I have ALL machines built for me from scratch. I absolutely despise the default Search Engine of MSN. It’s just not relevant. None of them are that great if you really think about it, but MSN is the worst in my opinion. A lot of people buy these premades because they are cheap. As well, a lot of people buying these types of machines are not that web-savvy. Ahh thank you MSN. Just knowing that little bit of knowledge gives us an edge in understanding MSN a little bit better. After your own testing you are going to find that it’s a lot easier to pull a better return on investment in Adcenter than most other engines. Not always but in my experience…most of the time this is true.

So positions 1-3 are better in MSN than Google. In Google you get the more “web-savvy” type crowd. You get tons of “tire kickers” and “freebie clickers”. These are absolute budget killers. In MSN it seems so different. I encourage you to try this yourself and witness the results.

A Word On Dynamic Insertion

This is a really tough decision for you to make. Personally I use SpeedPPC for this. I’m sure there are many other options out there available. I’m not going to cover Adcenter’s Dynamic Keyword Policy or the use of their {param1,2,3} features. You can read about that in their FAQ’s or on the blog. For the most part, I hardly use any of these features in CPA Marketing on MSN. However in the retail side of Affiliate Marketing on MSN, this comes in very handy. The one thing to remember with Dynamic Insertion on MSN is that it takes a lot of research and planning on your part. If for some reason you’re using Dynamic Insertion on MSN and your headline goes past 25 characters then your ad will not show. Keep this in mind because I have experienced brain farts and wondered for about a week why my ads were not showing. Paying close attention would have had my ads running for about 4-5 days instead of being down for a week.

Keyword Matching

It’s no secret that I like exact matching almost everywhere I go. I am a bit more peculiar when it comes to PPC Marketing. Normally I am concentrating on my ROI’s rather than just getting the clicks. However in the testing phases there is nothing wrong with checking out MSN’s broad and phrase matching along with exact. As a matter of fact just for the sole purpose that MSN receives considerably less traffic than Google or Yahoo, I actually encourage this. The cool thing is that you can set different bids for each match type. This is huge because it gives you the ability to test broad keywords at a considerably lower CPC just to see if you can get some clicks that ultimately lead to conversions. Another thing to remember though is that you definitely want to take advantage of the negative keyword option. Another cool thing is that MSN allows you to add or remove negative keywords from INDIVIDUAL keywords.

These are just some real simple basics about Adcenter. Next post we’ll talk about Keywords, Testing and Targeting. After that though I want to share some specific “gaming” tactics I use with MSN. I believe these will give you a better shot at profiting really quick from the start while utilizing Adcenter.

Category: CPA Marketing
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11 Responses

March 27, 2008

Hey Ruck,

I posted this on an older post, so it might have been missed, no worries.
Just a question about setting up the MCC account.
When you are asked to specify “My client manager type”, did you specify that you were an affiliate, or did you choose one of the other options like “web consultant”?


March 27, 2008

Honestly I cannot remember. Matter of fact, I dont even remember that option. I dont know if I would answer with “affiliate” or not just for the fact of Google absolutely knowing from that signup form that I was an affiliate marketer. I dont want to tell you to lie but that’s just how I feel. Sorry man, just cannot remember. Been awhile.

March 27, 2008

Sure, no worries mate. I agree and think I’ll just choose the “web consultant” option. Safer to be aloof I think :)

Is it possible to use the same credit card for all of the linked accounts?

p.s. I only recently found your blog and it is now the first one I check in the mornings.
p.p.s. Congrats on your daughter!

March 27, 2008


Use the same credit card is just fine. Been doing it for a long time now. Thanks for the compliment!

March 27, 2008

excellent, thanks Ruck!!

March 27, 2008

Great info Ruck…as always…
I just wanted to add that a lady called me from MSN’s Canada office…I guess there are only 5 people there, anyways, she called to tell me that my recent ads were declined. (I figured an email would’ve came telling me the same but still waiting)
Anyways, she told me that anytime you delete a campaign and recreate from scratch you will be flagged for manual approval which is what happened to me. I was declined because they didn’t see a Terms & Conditions…but it was linked to in the footer…I was pi$$ed…
Note sure how valuable this info is to anyone but wanted to let ya know…
p.s. To put the icing on the cake I find out that the only reason she called was to close an open ticket that was opened for something altogether different, but she figured she would mention the declined campaign while she was at it…..I DO appreciate the courtesy-ish ness of it but it’s no how I would conduct business.
Anyways….awesome series Ruck…you’re grabbing a lot of new readers with this one…

March 27, 2008

5 people? LOL..Really. That’s interesting in itself. The Terms and Conditions though this is interesting as well. May I ask, was this direct linking or to your landing page?

March 27, 2008

My own site/landing page…I haven’t had much luck with direct linking from anywhere but FaceBook and recently…Yahoo

March 28, 2008

Hi Ruck,

Nice information on keyword stuffing & PPC. PPC is one of the best online marketing strategy. Before PPC publishing; you should do your homework. Research the target you want your PPC ad. Research the sector or segment for which you want the ad. See other PPC ads available. Find out what the competitors are doing.

March 31, 2008

looks like someone used buy blog comments above ^^

great post Ruck…I laughed so hard when I saw your older post with what looks like you giving the middle finger to MSN.