Shortly after launching access to its new adCenter program in Singapore, MSN announced today that it has also opened up access to its new paid search advertising program in France. The long-awaited MSN paid search advertising program is on its way to American shores next month.

While the new adCenter has some outstanding features that advertisers are sure to find handy, other options being touted as "powerful campaign management tools" are likely going to be less than useful for small business owners.

For example, the service will allow advertisers to indicate the type of audience they wish to reach by specifying things like geographic location, gender, age and time of day or week and then suggests keywords based on those specifications. For companies looking to target a very specific audience, this style of research will be quite useful.

On the other hand, an option called "Site Analyzer" is supposed to "assist" advertisers by suggesting keywords that match the content of their existing site. While that may sound like a good idea at first, many small businesses simply don't have content that actually matches what they sell. Even among larger businesses, page copy is often either non-existent or focuses on buzz words that no one actually searches for. That could mean that business owners using this service could miss out on some great keywords with lots of potential.

Still, MSN execs are pleased with the program so far. "We're excited by the positive feedback we have received from advertisers thus far," Mehdi said. "The launch of adCenter in France and Singapore is a great first step to delivering on our global vision to connect advertisers to consumers in a much more meaningful way."

adCenter also features the standard array of budget estimators and performance trackers to help advertisers fine tune their campaigns over time. Once beta testing starts in the U.S. this October, small business owners will start to be able to hear some direct feedback to help them decide if they want to add MSN adCenter to their paid search budget.

That said, it's also important to note that the addition of MSN to a company's search marketing inventory shouldn't cause a large increase in spending, though it will mean more time management. Since MSN currently syndicates pay-per-click listings from Yahoo!, most small businesses already have a paid search presence on the MSN site. The change will simply mean gaining more control over the ads that show up specifically on the MSN site.

Learn more about the upcoming U.S. launch in October from the Wall Street Journal.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
September 26, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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