Microsoft AdCenter Setup for Mac Users

Microsoft adCenter is Microsoft's answer to Google's AdWords. It's the main search engine business for Microsoft.

Imagine you are a simple businessman, who has his own website and you want to bring more traffic on your site. As you are familiar with Microsoft software for decades now, naturally you'll want to check out their online advertising system.

Here are some basic guidelines to make the experience less painful:

First pitfall - Don't even consider using Safari or any other browser except IE and Mozilla, adCenter website does not support other browsers. Their help center states that also Mac and Virtual machines are not supported.

microsoft adCenter Safari
microsoft adCenter Safari

Before he found out that all Mac browsers are banned, Alec, our creative director, spent several hours trying to get Microsoft adCenter to work with all of the browsers under Mac OS, including spoofing the user-agent. Futile, he assures me. You can't even view the System requirements page!

Microsoft adCenter system requirements for Mac users
Microsoft adCenter system requirements for Mac users: unviewable!
The page loads forever!

What is Microsoft thinking here? I know they are PC centric, but making potential advertisers lives miserable by not allowing them access via their preferred platform? No wonder Microsoft's is in last place among the big three search engines.

After installing Mozilla or using IE you log in into setup pages. Using Medium security settings (one of the defaults) on IE will cause Second pitfall - Their site will popup a security warning on your IE, telling you that some parts of the web-page are not secure. Well if you are cautious person you'll probably shut down your browser and never use their service again. If not you have two choices, both bad:

ie6 adcenter
adCenter on Internet Explorer 6
  1. Lower your security settings
  2. Click Yes each time you access a page, which will be more than a little annoying.

If you are not very technical, you'll probably need help with setting up ads in adCenter. If you try to do it on your own you'll probably end up spending many hours and you'll call for help in the end.

As a Mac user if you want to use Microsoft adCenter, you will need a copy of VirtualBox (our preferred virtual machine software at Foliovision, due to the absence of painful licensing routines - we do own Parallels have tested VMware but don't use them) or alternative virtual machine software, as well as a copy of Windows XP or 2000. Be careful with Windows 2000 - you may run into limitations there as well.

Even for professional Google AdWords campaign managers, Microsoft adCenter setup is very unpleasant in comparison to the smooth and user-friendly setup of Google's AdWords.

But once you do get onto adCenter and set up some ads, your chances of a successful campaign (low-volume of course, as there just isn't much traffic there) go way up.


First, it's so annoying to run a Microsoft adCenter campaign that most people can't be bothered for the volume of traffic involved. The time investment is just so much more efficient in Google AdWords.

Second, the sort of people so clued out as to use Microsoft Search / for their searches are likely to be either highly inexperienced internet users or totally straight dweebs who believe in Microsoft.

In either case, they are a public who are more likely to part with their money more quickly, as they lack the savvy or will to shop around more aggressively. I.e. good potential clients.

Our live testing on client campaigns supports this view. Microsoft Live campaigns are delivering a sale for 1/3 the cost of the same sale on Google AdWords.

So even Mac Users have grounds to swallow their distaste and start their virtual machines.

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4 Responses to Microsoft AdCenter Setup for Mac Users

  1. MSN adcenter finally started working for me after I uploaded the newest version of Firefox for Mac, 3.0.10. Their customer service department still say that they are not compatible with Mac.

  2. Hello Marie,

    Thanks for the info about MSN AdCenter and Firefox! MSN AdCenter Mac lack of Mac compatibility is an ongoing thorn in my side. I’ll be testing this later today.

    PS. It’s cost MSN AdCenter at least $1000 this month not to support Mac as there are some campaigns which didn’t get uploaded as a consequence.

  3. Hi Alec,

    I guess this must be a corporate decision from microsoft, and an attempt to make search marketers work on a PC. There is no question they are losing lots of ad spend due to this. A few years back it was hard to be a search marketer on a Mac, but today, MSN adcenter is one of the few things holding us back… However with the new Firefox version, MSN adcenter seems to be working well.

  4. Suite Ta Bu

    Great article, I own a mac and experienced the “forever loading” bit. I had not heard of VirtualBox and was grateful for the tip!

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