Adwords to Adcenter – Transferring Your Adverts & Adgroups

It not exactly the easiest process in the world but here is how I have been moving some paid search campaigns from Google Adwords to Microsoft Adcenter. Don’t expect everything to transfer exactly and also keep in mind that your Google ads are probably shown over two lines while your MSN Adcenter ads can be shown over one line and the link break is ignored.

Step 1 – Export Your Ads from Google

Log into adwords and choose Reports > Create Report

1. Report Type

ad Performance

2. Settings

Tick Text Ad
Date Range – This Month

Campaigns and Ad Groups – check “Manually select from a list”

then click Add in the left hand side to move the selected adgroups over to the right column.

3. Add or Remove Columns


Ad Group
Ad Id (not required for adcenter but Google insist)
Match Type
Description Line 1
Description Line 2
Display URL
Current Mximum CPC
Keyword Destination URL
Destination URL
Impressions (again only required by Google)

4. Name the report and save the report template

Click Create Report

It may take some time to go away and have your lunch :)

when it’s finished download the file as csv (for excel)

Now you need to do some editing to the file

Delete columns I and M which should be adgroup ID and Impressions

Remove the first 6 rows of headings and labels etc

Remove the last row which is the totals

Sort by column C so that you can remove all rows that are about content targetting

Now you need to make sure your columns are in the following order

Ad Group
Keyword Matching
Keyword URL
Description 1
Description 2
Display URL
Destination URL

Then save as an excel file

Another problem here is that MSN doesn’t like ad titles which are of the form

{Keyword:Buy Stuff Here}

So you are going to need to do a find and replace on




to get rid of them


Log in to Adcenter

Campaigns > Import

Make sure you select UK or whatever is relevant

Click import – point it at the excel file

cross your fingers, hold your breath and hope that it’s your lucky day

You’ll probably get some errors which have to be downloaded as a CSV file to review.

Some of these errors are purely created by Microsoft to help you grow in patience ;)

However in the end it’s better than nothing – just!

You now need to go into your campaign in adcenter and go through and review every order as they are only imported in draft format. Nice touch eh?

If you give this a try then do leave me a comment and let me know if I have made any errors.

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Mark Benson
Jun 13th, 2007 at 2:10 am | #

Will we ever see a real alternative to Google Adsense and Adwords. I think that there is a market for someone willing to put the big bucks in and take on Google – but who would be brave enough?

Jun 13th, 2007 at 3:58 am | #

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!! You just save me A LOT of time.

Jun 13th, 2007 at 9:13 am | #

I hope it does help Jamdo – let me know if I’ve missed any steps when you get a chance to follow it through.

Mark – I’m not convinced that there is much room for anyone else in the market to compete on an equal footing. I suppose I might have thought the same before google came along but they just seem to have both sides (audience & ads) totally cornered.

Brian Free
Jun 13th, 2007 at 9:26 pm | #

I agree, there is no one near big enough to battle Google advertising.

Affiliate Money Maker
Jun 14th, 2007 at 11:00 am | #

Nice tips thanks. However, those implementing it should keep in mind that the market share of MSN is much smaller than that of Google – so don’t freak if you see few less hits and conversions. However, MSN users are known to convert better, at least in some markets, so who knows…

Affiliate Marketing Blog
Jul 3rd, 2007 at 12:27 pm | #

So far the best way (that I’ve found) is to create campaigns in excel and upload to Google via the adwords editor. Then simply modify the excel sheet slightly to also do the upload to MSN. (via their import feature). I havent tried to export from Adwords first, then go to MSN.

Aug 8th, 2007 at 3:44 pm | #

Thanks a ton! I was putting off figuring this out, but its very easy actually. I’ll reprint your tutorial with a link back to you.

Thanks again!

Fraser Edwards
Aug 9th, 2007 at 9:38 am | #

Rian – glad you’ve found this useful. It was a task I put off for ages too but it’s not that bad in the end.

I’d be delighted if you do link to the article and use a short excerpt but please don’t reprint it in full, thanks! :)

Sep 19th, 2007 at 4:01 pm | #

if you are going to keep dynamic keyword insertion in for the ad description/destination URL ensure you change {KeyWord:Default Text} to {keyword} and note its case sensitive.

also I found I had to put in the adcenter column headers (from the template) otherwise it wouldn’t accept the file

anyone found a bulk way to submit the newly imported from “draft” to “active”?

Janet Woofer
Oct 18th, 2007 at 12:08 pm | #

Interesting Information should give it a try

Dec 26th, 2007 at 8:17 pm | #

Thank you for saving me time!

Sep 8th, 2008 at 11:16 am | #

This will help you turn draft campaigns active without visiting each individually.

Hope it helps. Ian

Fraser Edwards
Sep 8th, 2008 at 1:22 pm | #

That’s handy Ian – thanks :)

Sep 9th, 2008 at 3:20 pm | #

The destination url doesn’t import. Anyone notice this?

Jaider Bertoli
Sep 22nd, 2008 at 1:41 pm | #

nice, I should start doing that

Dec 4th, 2008 at 9:40 pm | #

It’s far easier than that! Just use Google AdWords editor – File – Export whole account in csv format and then import it to adCenter using the desktop tool. If there are errors they will clearly be shown and usually they are simple things like reducing ad text.

Jordan McClements
Aug 26th, 2009 at 3:10 pm | #

Gareth, I second and third that comment!

The new adCenter Desktop tool worked brilliantly for me after I had numerous problems trying to import a .csv file that I had exported from and Adwords account…

Aug 26th, 2009 at 3:14 pm | #

Yep that’s the best way to do it now. Remember I originally wrote this in June 2007 though and there was no sign of a desktop tool for adCenter back then! :)

Jordan McClements
Aug 26th, 2009 at 3:19 pm | #

Yup – credit where credit is due – I am really impressed with Microsoft. Their ‘beta’ tool works great, and their support staff bend over backwards to help.

Now – if only they would display sponsored links in the Republic Of Ireland! Can you believe that they do not do this yet? I have one client who spends large amounts of money on Adwords on, but Microsoft refuse to take his money!

Aug 26th, 2009 at 3:39 pm | #

Didn’t know that about Republic of Ireland – sounds crazy. So are there no sponsored ads running at all?

Agreed about adCenter support though. Always been really helpful.

Jordan McClements
Aug 26th, 2009 at 3:46 pm | #

Yup – it even allows you to select Rep. Ireland as a location to target when setting up your campaign… I then noticed that days later there was not a single impression. Adcenter support told me on the phone – that this is not something that they do yet!

Apparently if I want someone in Ireland to see my advert, I have to display it on and use ‘ireland’ keywords!

Not only that but someone in Ireland would have to manually navigate to FIRST and then type in ‘what i am advertising in ireland’ before they would see my ad!

No doubt this will change once they merge properly with Yahoo although they also told me that this could take 2 years!

(Sorry about the number of exclamation marks in this post).

Aug 26th, 2009 at 4:05 pm | #

Excess exclamation marks are quite understandable in that situation!! :)

Sep 30th, 2009 at 6:14 pm | #

I followed the steps to create the .csv file. But after logging into adCenter and clicking Campaigns, I cannot find an Import button anywhere…? Are the instructions now out of date? Thanks!

Sep 30th, 2009 at 6:17 pm | #

Actually, I’ve seen other forums that have screenshots of the “Import Campaigns” link. But it’s not in my account. Maybe because my account is brand new and doesn’t have that option yet? Anyway, I’ll see if there are any other methods for importing.

Oct 1st, 2009 at 4:44 pm | #

Paul – I think these instructions are well out of date now. It’s probably worth looking at the desktop tool now

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Fraser Edwards has been involved in affiliate marketing for more than 10 years after starting out in business as a website developer and stumbling into affiliate marketing instead.

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