Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #5: The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool

You’re just about to start your first search campaign for Shah’s Cars, advertising your new car insurance product, but you have no idea what the average CPC is, what the seasonality looks like, what your typical audience is and you want to go live as soon as possible. Where do you start?

The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence tool is here to help (download here). The tool can help with:

  • bid proposals
  • demographic and location targeting
  • keyword/negative keyword expansions
  • daily or monthly traffic patterns

So first things first, you need to build a keyword list.

  • Step 1 – Building your keyword list

To do this, type ‘car insurance’ into an Excel spreadsheet and, with your location set to United Kingdom, run the three keyword suggestion tools: 'campaign association', 'queries that contain your keyword' and 'related search'. The 'campaign association' and 'queries that contain your keyword' tools give you a great list of popular generic terms and also give you some keywords that might like to have in your negative list. For example, you could use ‘classic car insurance’ as a negative keyword if Shah’s Cars insurance policies don’t cover classic cars.

You can also run the 'related search' tool on the term ‘car insurance’. This will provide you with a list of keywords that people are known to search for relating to your original term. 'Related search' will provide you with a great list of popular car Insurance providers, which you can then use to build a competitive landscape.

For more information see - Microsoft Advertising Intelligence - Keyword and Negative Keyword Expansion
  • Step 2 – Seasonality Insight

After running the 3 expansion tools, you can compile the generated keywords and remove any that you deem irrelevant to later become negatives. With this, you can then run all of the terms through the daily and monthly traffic tools. The monthly traffic tool provides you with the seasonal peaks for the terms, showing that car insurance searches peak in March and April.

The daily traffic tool provides information on daily trends, in this case showing that queries increase at the beginning of the week and then fall off at the weekend.

For more information see - Microsoft Advertising Intelligence - Using the Traffic and Demographic Tools for Market Trends
  • Step 3 – Budget Proposal and CPC data

With these same keywords you can run the keyword monetisation tool, providing you with CPCs data for each of your terms for position 1-10. Using the seasonal trend data from the monthly traffic tool, you can make rough estimates on what the terms could cost each month.


For more information see - Microsoft Advertising Intelligence - Using the Pricing Tool for Bid Proposals and Budget Management
  • Step 4 – Audience Insight

With a keyword list built and costings researched, you can then move onto learning more about your audience. If you run competitor keywords through the monthly traffic tool you can see who your most popular competitor is. You can then run the demographic and location tools on the car insurance terms to get a better idea of what demographic looks for these products and where they are most popular in the UK. In this example, you can learn that car insurance has an even gender split, but is most popular in the 25-49 year old age group, and searched most often in London.

Within an hour, you can have a generic keyword list to work from, find out that car insurance is most popular between 25-49 year olds, that you should upweight the budget in the popular months and ensure your daily budgets are high enough to cope with the increased searches at the start of the week. So in four easy steps, you have all the information you need to start your search campaign.

Thanks for reading,

Katrina Morris

Previous posts in the series:

PPC for SMBs #1: Paid and organic search

PPC for SMBs #2: An introduction to Bing

PPC for SMBs #3: An introduction to Microsoft adCenter

PPC for SMBs # 4: An introduction to Microsoft adCenter Desktop


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