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Microsoft Ad Intelligence – That Other Search Engine Keyword Tool

SEOs want keyphrase volume numbers like Zombies need BRAINS!

However, the quality of brains keyphrase volume numbers has recently been a major topic of conversation amongst SEOs. The target of a lot of the attacks against volume numbers was directed at the new Google Keyword Tool. Well, at this point it really isn’t “new” anymore. However, Google is continuing to improve the tool by offering better volume numbers by eliminating partner site data and a better user interface by not suggesting a ton of useless keyphrases (giving the people what they want!).

SEO zombies need keyphrase volume

Now this may blow your mind but Google is not the only search engine that can be openly queried for keyphrase search volume. Bing has an add-in for Microsoft Excel 2007 called Ad Intelligence. Ad Intelligence is a group of Microsoft adCenter Tools that becomes fully integrated into Excel giving you Microsoft traffic numbers and more at your finger tips.

Here is what it looks like once the add-in is installed:

Microsoft Ad Intelligence Add-in

It is a set of tools that can be valuable for both Paid and Organic. But, let’s run through the basics for organic search data.

Traffic Tool

The traffic tool for ad intelligence lets you run three different types of queries.

  1. Traffic by Month
  2. Traffic by Day
  3. Content Impressions by Month


Since the Google Keyword Tool gives you monthly, the Traffic by Month will be the most used choice of the three for an SEO. This will allow you to easily add the Microsoft data to your keyphrases spreadsheets to generated weighted keyphrase relevancy.

Here is what the Traffic by Month report looks like:

Ad Intelligence Monthly Traffic Snapshot

The number of months that are returned can be adjusted in the Options of the add-in. For this example I choose the past 3 months of actual data as well as a 3 month projection (in pink). The Traffic Tool only returns data on keyphrases that have been highlighted so, no suggestions unless you are specifically looking for suggestions using the Keyword Suggestion Tool.

Keyword Suggestion Tool

The keyword suggestion tool, like the traffic tool, lets your run three different types of queries.

  1. Campaign Association
  2. Queries That Contain Your Keyword
  3. Related Search


Below is an example for the Queries That Contain Your Keyword report.

Ad Intelligence Keyword Suggestions Snapshot

Not much to tote here, except it works and that you only get suggestions when you ask for suggestions [zing]. The “confidence” column of these results is completely useless.

Take your Suggestions and Get Traffic

Where Ad Intelligence really excels is the seamless transition between researching the different aspects of the keyphrases.

Starting with the list generated by the Keyword Suggestions – Queries That Contain Your Keyword just simply highlight the list and run the Traffic by Month query against them. No lengthy explanation needed just highlight and click. The tool pulls and returns the volumes as expected.

Gotta love it when things just work!

The Down Side

The major drawback to installing the add-in is that it slows the startup of Excel considerably. I am not sure why it generates such a lag on startup but if I have Microsoft’s ear – Please spend some time speeding this up that lag is really annoying and I almost uninstalled the tool after the first startup of Excel.

Better Results than Paid KW Research Options

Before discovering the Ad Intelligence Tool I used one of the large paid keyword research tools available. The paid tool was always hit or miss and sometimes really threw off a weighted keyphrase relevancy scale.

The Ad Intelligence Tool has consistently returned better results than the paid tool. These results have made the time that is spent on keyphrase research more valuable and more meaningful to the SEO campaigns that are being constructed.

With that said if you have Microsoft Excel 2007 add this tool to your arsenal!



  1. Danny November 2, 2010

    Cool that the tool is not compatible with Microsoft Excel 2010. 🙂

    Can’t undergrade because the company has me on Office 2010.

    Seems this is a classic MS fail. 🙂

  2. Doc Sheldon November 4, 2010

    I’m going to have to give this a try, Matt. I guess I’m lucky, since I still run Office 2007. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Matt November 8, 2010

    @Danny – Yeah, MS quite often drops the ball. If they paid a little attention to some details it would go a long way with their users.

    I don’t have 2010 here and based on what MS says it only works in 2007. But, if you are feeling adventurous try and install it in your 2010 and see if it works. Let us know.

  4. Danny November 8, 2010

    @Matthiew: The Indiana Jones in me thought of that. But unfortunately couldn’t start the installer, i kept getting a error like ” you don’t have MS excel 2007 installed!”.

    will wait and see if they update the plugin, or put Virtual machine on my computer and install there Office 2007 in order to get it running. 🙂

    Simple features require complicated solutions.

  5. Tom December 21, 2010

    And still no update from Microsoft for this tool for 2010.

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