MSN to Launch Paid Ad Test in October

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SAN JOSE, CA -- MSN is differentiating its paid ad program from those of other search engines by offering more transparency on campaign performance, one of its executives told DM News yesterday at the Search Engine Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo.

MSN has released few details on MSN Keywords -- a program set to rival Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing -- since it was released in March. Until now.

David Jakubowski, general manager of Search Strategy and Go-to-Market at MSN, Redmond, WA, said MSN will launch its pilot search ad program for U.S. advertisers in October. Five hundred of its premium advertisers already have been invited to join the test, and a "slew of self-service advertisers" also will be included.

New advertisers to MSN that want to participate in the test can sign up via an MSN representative or on its Web site. Advertisers in France and Singapore are now testing MSN Keywords, with "very positive" results, Jakubowski said.

The differentiation for MSN Keywords -- part of MSN's ad solution called adCenter -- from Google and others is technology that provides more reporting to advertisers, Jakubowski said.

"Our reporting is very robust and flexible so they can break it down in a way they want to see it," he said.

MSN has said its solution will give keyword buyers in-depth audience intelligence including geographic location, gender, age group, lifestyle segment and time of day. It also will feature real-time reporting.

"Advertisers will have the opportunity in hours to affect their pricing," Jakubowski said. "You will be able to really hone in on, from a pricing standpoint, what you want to do … and refine your bidding in a much more sophisticated way. We could provide real audience intelligence. We have tools within adCenter to understand and learn the audience."

MSN will let advertisers research their keyword performance before they buy.

"If you know keyword performance, you could tailor the message to two different groups, with two different demographics," Jakubowski said.

MSN's keyword bidding, though, will work like Google's and Yahoo's models: Keyword price will be based on how the company bids on the keyword, relevant to its position in the marketplace.

In the future, adCenter will be expanded outside search ads to other advertising, such as display ads.

"Our vision for adCenter is that it's a one-stop shop," Jakubowski said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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