Posted December 14, 2007 3:44 pm by with 5 comments

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The goods: Microsoft adCenter has a new product rolling out next month. A plugin (“Add-in”) for Excel will give marketers access to automatic tools to generate keywords, expand keyword lists, get actual traffic and demographic data—as in real numbers. If you haven’t seen a demo yet, let me tell you: this looks very cool. Here are my notes from Microsoft’s presentation and demo at the Search Insider Summit today.

Session description: Expanding and optimizing keyword lists doesn’t need to be complex or time consuming. This session will provide a preview adCenter’s latest innovation – the adCenter Add-in for Excel 2007 and how it can be used to rapidly and easily build out or expand keyword lists and plan keyword strategy.


  • Stacey Harris, Agency Marketing Manager, Microsoft
  • Natala Menezes, Product Manager adCenter
  • Zhaohui Tang, Senior Group Program Manager

Natala Menezes
The goals and direction for adCenter:

  • Quality
  • Transparency—real, actionable, accurate data
  • Simplicity

When we talk about transparency, we want to give you access to real data—not just graphs and relative measures. We want them to be actionable and performable for you. We’re big on demographic and geographic info.

Simplicity—easy-to-use tools in the environment you’re working in already.
New product launching next month inside an application that you’re already familiar with, Excel: the Keyword Service Platform (KSP).

What is it? A treasure trove of keyword info. It has algorithms to extrapolate new terms from a set, define categorical relationships, access to real data. It’s a development platform.
(Want access to SDK?

“Better Together” [because everything at Microsoft needs a name.]

  • Search marketers already work in Excel.
  • Keyword research shouldn’t involve so much cut & paste.
  • Excel 2007 advances: unlimited rows; advanced add-in platform
  • You don’t need to be an expert in Excel to use these tools
  • Data is tuned for adCenter but can be applied to any campaign on any engine

The right keyword for the right audience to capture the right customer
3 philosophies: keyword research (easily generate and expand your list), keyword forecasting (historical monthly data and future predictions), keyword monetization (understand KPIs to help you decide which keyword to use & how much to bid)—CPC and CTR

Zhaohui Tang
Keyword technologies & related tools
Keyword research is the most important aspect of any search optimization, promotion campaign and web analytics.
commercial intention: map vs. digital camera. We’ve had 2 researchers working for 2 years on this.
demographics, geographic

KSP is a server platform that provides a set of smart keyword-related web services to empower adCenter, windows Live and 3rd party developers building next gen of online ad apps and beyond.

Demo and XBOX give away
XL plugin—ad intelligence. Lovely icons: keyword wizard, keyword extraction, keyword suggestion (options), search buzz, monthly and daily traffic, keyword categorization, geographic, demographic, monetization and vertical kpis, advanced algorithm.
Daily data updates, researchers in adCenter labs building new models—all at your fingertips

type in URL (—generates keywords (as many as you want). Gives you top two most likely categories (segments): vehicles/automobiles. Financial services/insurance/vehicle insurance
select keyword, use expansion. Finds all the keywords containing those keywords.
Easy to delete keywords
100s of keyword in seconds—confidence for relevance (r2)
Monthly traffic and forecasts—real numbers!
Daily traffic and forecasts (great for dayparting)—as recently as 2 days ago.
(Conservative approach—take out fraud/bots)
Geographic info—where are people searching from. City, state, country
Demographic info: percentages male/female, age distribution (over a set date range) (some uncertainty, of course—margin of error)
Vertical KPIs—compare insurance vertical v. used car vertical—clicks, impressions, average position (I guess your ads’), CTR, CPC
Monetization—show CTR, CPCs, etc.
Algorithm settings: generates a chart with different positions over time—and can graph impressions, CTR, CPC, etc.

Conclusion: Keyword Wizard is fabulous
available in early January to get access to tool

Other features to play with:
search buzz—reveals keyword trends, “spiky” occurrences. Great for capturing popularity data, top frequent keyword over a longer time period

Is there going to be back end compatibility for non2007 XL?
We’re debating whether to provide 2003 version or do web-based. It would be pretty significant to do 2003. (Zhaohui says they’re working on it, but have no dates)
If I’m not an XL user, can I use KSP? Do you buy/subscribe for access?
We’re working on this as FREE tools (except for Excel).

All the features we saw—are those available for all keyword? Or are there thresholds?
Zhaohui: There are certain things (privacy issues). We only do keywords with at least 5 customers bidding on it. There’s a quota system to avoid abuse (but it’s fairly generous). For larger deals, you can get partnership.
To clarify: is there search volume info threshold?
If there are at least 10 queries a month, we’ll show then numbers.

It’s a % based system on Passport data. Some confidentiality on geographic and demographic info. It’s a confidence score to use as a predictive measure.

Can you explain how the confidence measure is performed/conducted?
Zhaohui: Each algorithm owner decides how to interpret the confidence score—depends on the researcher that wrote it.
Natala: More likely to vary in predicting CPC. You can use this for establishing a testing pattern.

They’re working on lag times in budget/updating.

The search volume data is just from Live. Right, so if you wanted to extrapolate that, you should use market share data. . . .
Natala: We often say the data is best tuned to adCenter, but you can use it anywhere.

  • You are right, this sounds seriously cool! Any idea as to the pricing? Or will it be a free ad-on to your existing version (is that too optimistic)?

  • Jordan McCollum

    As Natala said, this will be free, as long as you already have Excel 2007

  • This does sound pretty cool. Of course now I have to get Excel 2007, which isn’t so cool. Might be a good enough reason for an upgrade, though.

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