Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

You Suck – A Memo to Microsoft adCenter


Dear Microsoft. While I value a wider selection brought on by competition, ever since you launched adCenter, your back-end has been plagued with troubles. I find it alarming that even after all this time, some basic fundamental usability issues are still not addressed and getting things done within your system continues to be a burden. The complete frustration brought on by using your system significantly reduces the value of its existence, simply because I dread even using it!

There are too many issues that drive me completely up the wall to even write about – the thought of including every little problem overwhelms me to the point of wanting to just shut off my computer and forget about even writing this memo. I will however grin and bear it and share with you some of your faults that drive me bonkers.

  • Why is it when I log into your system, the first screen I see is so bare and limited. When I want to log in and quickly see total conversions, or data for a specific range, you make me click on a specific campaign. What if I want to see data for all campaigns on the same screen? These columns should be customizable, so I can see a full account snapshot, based on the date range of my choosing.
  • Why is there no functionality available to move an ad group from one campaign to another?
  • When I need to create a new ad for one of my AdGroups it would sure be nice if the existing ads remained in view. Google and Yahoo let me see existing ads, why must you hide them? Creating a variation of an existing ad is much easier if you can view the exiting ad at the same time.
  • Why is your dropdown calendar and date selection so terrible? I don’t even know where to start. First I am forced to use your calendar. There is no easy way to scroll between months, and I have to select the year before I select the month if I want something from the previous year. Take a look at Google’s drop down calendar, maybe it will give you some ideas.
  • Google has made it painfully easy to see ALL keywords, Ads, or whatever, from the entire account on one screen. It’s brilliant. It’s Easy. It’s non-existent with your system.
  • Why must I click on so many links to change the smallest thing within my account? The number of steps it takes to do anything at all amazes me and destroys my productivity.
  • Why do your servers take forever? I don’t have these slow load times with Google. Aren’t you a multi-billion dollar company? Maybe you could spring for a few faster data-centers.
  • Why do you give me so little traffic? Oh wait, you have a small market share. Sorry, I forgot that you are sensitive about that. I got a spam email on my Hotmail account that said there are pills for that, just so you know.
  • When I want to see the performance data for my campaigns why can I only select a 31 day date range? I should be able to select ANY date range I want from the start of the campaign till today. If I choose “custom” you limit me to 31 days, but in the drop-down menu I can select “entire time”, “last 6 months” etc. What if it has been 6 weeks since I started testing something and I want to see that total accumulated data? I have to run two reports and manually add up the numbers! That’s not cool.
  • When I make updates, sometimes I have to hit “save” multiple times to make it work. This is probably a FireFox compatibility issue however, but I don’t want to be forced to use IE to use your products. I don’t know the exact figures, but I am willing to bet that the majority of web marketers that use your product, probably also use Firefox – why not try to keep them happy?

I suppose that my biggest problem with Microsoft is really that it just isn’t very intuitive. Perhaps my thoughts are skewed by how simple most things are with Google AdWords – I imagine if I asked someone who spent most of his/her time in AdCenter, they may dislike AdWords as much as I dislike the Microsoft platform. While this article is all just my opinion, I imagine I share it with others – or at least one other person.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though – if all goes according to plan, and this whole Microsoft Yahoo deal plays out as expected, adCenter may be a thing of the past as they turn to using the Yahoo platform. Time will tell for sure, but it looks like this is the direction of things to come.

20 Responses to “You Suck – A Memo to Microsoft adCenter”

  1. Mark

    Scott – BANG ON! I am going through a lot of these issues as we speak. I do have to say however that AdCenter has way better customer support than Google AdWords.

  2. Rob Cooper

    I like how when you go to campaigns the default date is a future date. This is obviously guaranteed to never be the right day you’re going to want to look at, as opposed to, for instance, if they defaulted to the previous day’s date.

  3. Olivier

    I agree with most of what you say, especially the date range limitations are very hard to understand. The Adcenter editor, while a great step forward, is also plagued by bugs and feels much more cumbersome to use than the Adwords Editor.
    With regards to market share, it’s not like they aren’t trying and we should all hope they succeed for competition’s sake.

    I also agree that their customer service is way better than Google’s.

  4. John M

    For the last few months I have been promoting my business using Google AdWords and have been happy with the results. So I thought I would also start advertising with Bing. It is not possible to complete the Microsoft AdCenter sign up process if you have a mac running Firefox 3.6. I rang up Microsoft and the customer service guy was great, but at the end of the day the box you enter the keywords into does not accept the entries if you use a mac and Firefox.

    I want competition with Google, but not if it means buying a new computer and switching to IE.

  5. Kim S

    I wanted to vent also on Microsoft adcenter. I got help quickly from adcenter help desk. I am on dial up with no option to change this. After numerous attempts to even get a login, the help desk had to download my campaigns for me and go through all the setups so I could be up and running on bing/yahoo for this new changeover end of October. They told me I had to have Mozilla as a browser so I did that and still didn’t work. Then to download my Yahoo campaign they told me to download Google Adwords editor and transfer my “Google Campaign” into the Microsoft adcenter “because Google downloaded campaign is set up closer to the Adcenter settings and there isn’t as much changing as I would have had with my Yahoo account”.
    Now my campaigns are sitting in Microsoft adcenter all paused as I have to change the settings to activate, but I can’t get into adcenter.
    I guess its good they didn’t activate campaigns as I have no way of actually getting into it to do changes. So looks like my adcenter campaign will never be working and when Yahoo is transitioned I won’t be advertising there either!!!
    Why didn’t they just keep Yahoo and change ti around. I can get into my Yahoo and Google campaigns with relative ease even with dialup.

  6. Meester Fab

    Last month I could not log in to pause campaign. Also I discovered my settings were changed to USA, to all devices (instead of desktops and laptops).
    I started to receive leads from out of my area (california)and could not log in to find out. It took a couple of days before I could log in and that is when I discovered the setting changes.

    Now whenever I start the campaign, I check my settings. I am starting this morning again and had to change my device settings to desktops and laptops and the area (AGAIN). I don’t know why MS is messing with my settings other than to make more money. Really sucks you can’t trust the people you are paying.

    my 2 cents

  7. Steve Slisar

    I second the last comment. The problem is that we have an active campaign with Microsoft adCenter that I want to stop but have not been able to access it in the last 3 or so months. I haven’t kept track, but when $75 per month is leaving our company bank account promoting a site that is out of date and there appears to be little I can do to stop it quickly it is VERY frustrating.

    My recommendation would be to stick with Google Adwords until people do actually use Microsoft for search…

  8. Steve Slisar

    Oh and just to add to the last post. I also experienced the problem with Microsoft adCenter saying it needed Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer to view the site, yet it came up with absolutely no access. Google Chrome actually showed me the website but I wasn’t able to use the buttons.

  9. Scott

    It really is such a joke. I don’t understand how a company with such deep pockets struggles to make a system that is user friendly. It’s not that difficult – all they have to do is ask ANY user what they think and they will get a pile of suggestions.

    Steve: I don’t typically use I.E. But have actually had times when IE wouldnt work for AdCenter and I had to use Firefox to get it to work! How bizarre is that. Currently it won’t work at all for me using Chrome.

    Perhaps Google should block IE for access to AdWords. That’ll show’em.

    Meester: Did your login info change, or did you just forget it? Is it possible your account was hacked? Other than the settings for location/devices, was anything else changed?

    Kim: I agree. Would almost make more sense to have switched to using the Yahoo system. Oh well.

  10. Taylor

    I too have to vent about AdCenter:

    My #1 peeve about Adcenter: Sorting Columns.

    WTF? I have to choose whether I want it to go from largest to smallest or smallest to largest? AdCenter, get with the rest of the 21st century and let me just click the darn word!

  11. AdCenter Can Suck It

    AdCenter was cool up until the last few weeks. Now they’ve become worse than Google with their QS bullshit. Yes, they have live support but chatting with them is like smashing your head against a brick wall. They just feed you the same crap about their vague guidelines
    but never actually tell you how to comply. F*ck adcenter. F*ck bing.

  12. Amy

    I find that my narrow geographic setting keep getting removed which is costing me more money!! This is essentially robbery. I am now trying to delete my campaigns because it is such a mess!
    If anyone can tell me how to do that you will save me an hour.

  13. Richa Agarwal

    I completely agree with u… I am using both adwords and Bing and trust me Bing stands no where. It is the most unfriendly tool I am using..

  14. MF_PPC

    oh thank goodness, I’m glad I’m not the only one who despises using Adcenter and the Adcenter desktop. I work for an agency so have to use them for certain clients but basically want to pull my hair out every time. I waste more productivity in Adcenter, it’s ridiculous.

    @Amy – I had this same problem with the geo targeting!! Only thing is that I didn’t realize it until the campaign had been targeting the whole country instead of a select city until about 2 weeks later after which I blew through $1,000 on a campaign that typically wouldn’t have even spent $200 during that time. I was so confused because I could have sworn I set the targeting correctly. It’s basically been haunting me every since because it totally destroyed my campaign’s performance.

    Grrr…I hate it!!

  15. Jim

    I concur. For over a week I’m trying to get an ad that had working perfectly for over a year back on. They say there is a malfunction with their filters and my very legitimate ad is not showing. Nobody does anything to fix it and the support is useless. Microsoft basically is failing because they make people have to fight to pay them money. Think about that. I have been a customer for nearly 5 years but I’m done. They disgust me to the point that I could puke on billy’s face. What a bunch of idiots.

  16. Jeff

    Can I just add that this thread started over a year and a half ago, and adCenter is still an absolute disaster. It is honestly one of the worst pieces of software that I have ever used, and it never seems to improve. Even the software updates are buggy – please close adCenter to update? I just opened the damned thing and you asked me if I wanted to update! I have nothing to close but this update window!

    Please note, I am typing this while the desktop client updates data with a custom date range that I entered. I know this is taxing, I asked for six whole months worth of data. Going on about 5 minutes now…. arggh, I hate adCenter.

  17. Ross Dunn

    Yes, to this day I haven’t heard a single good thing about AdCenter. Why Microsoft doesn’t give a damn about their users is beyond me. I suppose it is just ego…

  18. William

    I agree 100%. Except for Windows 7 and the Office line, Microsoft just doesn’t make good products anymore. Adcenter is a perfect example of this. It blows my mind how horrible the user interface is. Navigating a campaign is a nightmare, I downloaded their desktop software which is even worse.

    My favorite part is when you try to mass manage keywords in multiple campaigns, Adcenter craps out and says, too many keywords, please add filters…..ummm have you heard of google? Maybe their techs should get an account and see how to properly build a system for scalable accounts. I feel like Adcenter was designed for much smaller accounts, Add over 100,000 keywords in Adcenter and your screwed, have fun.

    Microsoft won’t listen, they have become far too arrogant and I believe Steve Balmer is the root of the problem. I think the people at Google Adwords can sleep with no worries, Adcenter isn’t even close to being a relevant threat.

  19. Scott Van Achte

    Hi William,

    Thanks for your comment. I find it rather amusing that after a couple years since I wrote this original post, things have not changed much with AdCenter. Many people still strongly dislike the interface and things are just as awkward as they ever were. Microsoft does appear to be listening though.

    Bing Webmaster Tools has been heavily upgraded and is fantastic now, perhaps they will take some of their skills and apply them to AdCenter as well. Time will tell.

  20. paul

    Microsoft adcenter backend sucks! It’s down right now.. screw it!

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