Getting Started With Microsoft Advertising Intelligence

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (MAI) is one of the SEM tools most Advertisers don’t even know they wish they had. MAI provides API access to keyword extraction and generation, and historical and forecast metrics, all wrapped in a softward add-in that integrates with Excel.

It is in some ways better than AdWords’ equivalent tools, and the Excel integration and wizard workflow are unlike anything AdWords makes available.

The adCenter team invited me to help them announce their recent innovations at Search Engine Strategies New York last week. I was somewhat surprised to learn that most Advertisers don’t even know MAI exists. I suspect that is because we don’t go looking for it.

We mostly limit our time with adCenter to copying what we have already done in AdWords; who would think of looking to adCenter for more advanced features and tools? You should. They have been quietly pushing a few features a bit further downfield than AdWords, and MAI (Microsoft Advertiser Intelligence) is one such tool.

Quick Tour

  • MAI is a downloadable Add-In for Excel (download)
  • Once installed, it adds a tab to Excel, with a ribbon bar full of tools
  • Keyword Wizard: Walks you through using the next few buttons, all in one wizard
  • Keyword Extraction: Extract Keywords from a list of URLs
  • Keyword Suggestion: 3 Types
    • Campaign Association: Mine other advertisers’ keywords!
    • Queries that contain your Keyword
    • Related Search Keywords
  • Traffic
    • By Month
    • By Day
  • Demographics
    • Age Group and Gender
    • Search-User Location: Geography
  • Metrics
    • historical & forecast trends and KPIs
    • Volume

When you take a closer look at the tool, you may notice there are other features available as well. The Quick Tour above highlights the features most useful for Paid Search Advertisers.

Keyword Generation

Keyword Generation is an important part of Paid Search throughout the lifecycle of an account. These tools help with generating keywords by starting with your “seed” terms and expanding them.

Perhaps the most interesting and effective is the “Campaign Association” feature. MAI states that it will “Generate keywords based on the bidding behavior of other adCenter advertisers.” I find this feature frequently finds new ideas that are worth testing, and that it also often shows keywords that I would not normally include in a campaign – they can be quite broad and possibly lack relevance for your account.

The tool will also expand based on related keywords and on search queries adCenter has seen that include your seed terms.

Keyword Extraction

This is a tool familiar to many SEO experts – it basically scrapes a webpage looking for relevant keywords. This is a terrific way to get seed terms and get a good starting list for new clients, or to double check your work across a list of URLs and a long keyword list.

Campaign Structure

Be careful using keyword generation tools at scale. They often do not help put things in the correct AdGroup. That organization would have to be done according to your own Campaign Buildout design.


MAI will also produce historical and forecast traffic and monetization data (cost per click, clicks, average positions, etc.), and will break it down by match type. This is another example of where they are pushing the tools a bit beyond what is made available by AdWords, and in really useful ways.

API Access

All of the features exposed through MAI in Excel are also available directly through the API. There is a tremendous opportunity to build data-rich toolsets from these features, but that discussion is beyond the scope of this post.


Be aware that the tool accesses adCenter via the API, and the volulme of requests is limited. Individual advertisers might have success raising this limit by contacting their representatives.

Future Versions

The adCenter team is actively developing this tool, and we can expect future versions to show improved usability, more features, and hopefully more community support for Advertisers to share best practices around keyword generation.


Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Advanced | Channel: SEM | How To | How To: PPC | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Search Marketing Toolbox


About The Author: is Director of Advertising Services at Stone Temple Consulting. Crosby has extensive experience in search engine marketing including growing small accounts to multi-million dollar success stories at companies such as and

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