AdWords Editor, Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop, & Microsoft adCenter Desktop – Olympic Style

PPC Buzz of the Week for Friday 3/19/10

Approximately two weeks ago Yahoo finally released a desktop application for its paid search interface, similar to Google AdWords Editor and Microsoft adCenter Desktop. Personally, I’ve been waiting for Yahoo to do this for the past year so I was psyched when I received an email saying the application was now available.

Now that all of the Big 3 in terms of paid search have desktop applications, it’s only reasonable to compare each one against the other two. Seeing as the Olympics ended a few short weeks ago, I thought it would be appropriate we do the competition between these three desktop applications Olympic style. So without further ado, let the games begin.


Description: How easy is it to navigate throughout your account?

All applications utilize tree navigations on the left hand side; however AdWords Editor provides the ability to see negative keywords at both the campaign and ad group level in the center well navigation. This makes life very easy in both adding negative keywords and identifying any that may be hindering keyword performance.

Sorry Yahoo and Microsoft, but this one was a very short competition in my opinion…

Gold – AdWords Editor

Silver – Microsoft adCenter Desktop

Bronze – Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop


Description: How fast can you make changes that are within the application and then uploaded?

Editor and Microsoft are fairly close in the amount of time it takes to download a similar sized account, while Yahoo can honestly take a minute or two for the same sized account.

While all three applications download an account to your computer, Editor is the fastest when it comes to moving around in that account. Yahoo and Microsoft typically delay a few seconds when moving from campaign to campaign or ad group to ad group.

Although Editor and Microsoft allow the ability to make multiple changes, only Editor provides a real one step process in doing so. Microsoft requires several steps in making multiple changes thus slowing the process. Yahoo, as far as I’ve been able to tell, doesn’t even offer the ability to make multiple changes other than adding several keywords at a time. This definitely hurts their case for a gold medal.

And the medals go to…

Gold – AdWords Editor

Silver – Microsoft adCenter Desktop

Bronze – Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop

Import Functionality & Ability to Save Work

Description: How easy is it to import a campaign, ad group, keywords, and/or ads from another file type or search engine? Also, are you able to save work done as another file type?

Most advertisers begin PPC in Google so it is not a true comparison of importing other accounts/campaigns from other search engines since most of the time imports are being made from a Google account into Yahoo or Microsoft. That said, both Yahoo and Microsoft do a fabulous job of taking a simple CSV file downloaded from a Google account and migrating it into a Yahoo or Microsoft account. Microsoft however takes it one step further by asking you what the source of the campaign data is from.

As far as saving your accounts as other file types, Editor provides many more options than Yahoo and Microsoft. Yahoo and Microsoft only allow the ability to save accounts in CSV formats, which are not very pretty when trying to display structure to a client. AdWords Editor on the other hand provides the ability to save in HTML format, making an easy to read and follow view of an account’s structure for all parties involved.

This one was very difficult, but the medals go to…

Gold – Microsoft adCenter Desktop

Silver – AdWords Editor

Bronze – Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop

Extra Features

Description: What cool features are included in the application that has benefit to creating and managing an account?

All three applications possess the ability to download statistics for various date ranges; however the downloading of Yahoo statistics either takes forever or stalls for me resulting in the application to stop working and close. It looks like it’s a two horse race from here.

Both Editor and Microsoft posses some pretty cool keyword research features, but Microsoft takes it to a whole new level with the ability to provide forecasts on estimated traffic in the coming months for the specific keywords you are currently using. In addition, Microsoft provides some demographical data on the clicks you received during the date range you selected.

And the medals go to…

Gold – Microsoft adCenter Desktop

Silver – AdWords Editor

Bronze – Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop

Final Medal Count

Google AdWords Editor

2 Gold Medals

2 Silver Medals

Microsoft adCenter Desktop

2 Gold Medals

2 Silver Medals

Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop

4 Bronze Medals


Although I focused on very generalized comparisons between all three applications, both Google AdWords Editor and Microsoft adCenter Desktop tallied two gold medals apiece so the decision of which application is best ultimately comes down to the individual user and what they perceive as being the biggest pros and cons of each application. Personally, I love the speed and navigability of AdWords Editor and could easily do without the extra features Microsoft offers. However, I do love the fact Microsoft provides the option to select which source a campaign or account is from when importing. All of that being said, I’ll have to say AdWords Editor is my favorite desktop application.

Until next week…Keep on Searching!

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4 comments on “AdWords Editor, Yahoo Search Marketing Desktop, & Microsoft adCenter Desktop – Olympic Style

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What a breath of fresh air to bring a little sunshine after a horrible day. Excellent writing that really gets the idea covered. Thanks for taking the time.

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Good share, great article, very usefull for us…thanks!


I personally prefer Google AdWords Editor but I also think that Microsoft is improving.

PPC Manager

Really nice article!

There is also a new game in town – it’s called PPC Manager. It is AdWords Editor alike software that supports various advanced features like grouping, keyword’s statistical significance, profitability columns, customized filtering, summaries, etc..