July 2011 adCenter Upgrade – Intital Reaction

Microsoft announced today a new upgrade to the adCenter user interface. I was particularly excited given that I’ve been frustrated with adCenter’s interface and I’ve also given feedback to Microsoft on how it could be improved. Did they hit a home run or did they strike out(again)? Here are the changes they made and my thoughts:

  1. Campaign Management
    1. The Answer Bar- This has quick links to Support/Videos/Chat. meh. Seems geared towards someone who has never done PPC in their life. I tried chatting but it said “No Representatives are Available”.
    2. Bid By Position- Google got rid of this a few months ago for a reason. No one uses it.
  2. Budget Management
    1. “There will be just three budget options: Daily Standard, Daily Accelerated and Monthly Accelerated.” I really like the idea of “Monthly Accelerated”. Most of our clients are on monthly budgets so this will be helpful.
  3. Account Management
    1. Simpler navigation to billing info, multiple accounts associated with one credit card, and “adCenter will increase the number of email alerts sent to customers”. In the blog post they state “these features will be particularly helpful for self-managed advertisers”. I’m at an agency. Enough said?

What they should have changed:

  • Improved Dashboard- Their campaign trends/performance graphs on the Home tab are clunky and frustrating to use. I feel like I get better information when I am in the campaigns tab. It would have been helpful to have the graphs and campaign info in one tab so I don’t have to go back and forth(like Adwords).
  • Data on the Customer Selection Page- Microsoft’s comparison to the MCC is useful to have your clients in one place. Now if they would just toss some data for individual clients in that view we all would be happy!
  • Better Navigation- navigating between campaign/adgroup/keywords/ads is frustrating. I DON’T want to have to save whenever I make bid changes(just save them automatically). Creating ads is a pain also because I have to write them from scratch every time(give me a copy of an existing ad).

Overall I’m disappointed with the changes. This announcement has been months in the making and it was a let-down. I was hoping for more practical changes specifically in the UI. Maybe next year we’ll get them?