Let's get back to the basics. What is native advertising? What does it look like? and when/ why should we use it? Whether your trying to get client buy-in or you simply need a refresher, you've come to the right place.

12 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Audience Ads (formerly Bing Native Ads)

You've probably heard of Microsoft Ads, but are you using them? A cheaper alternative to Google Adwords, here are the 12 things you need to know to get up and running with Microsoft Audience Ads.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 15.44.21By Martin Ochwat
Digital marketing and e-commerce expert
Connect 


Native Advertising is a type of online advertising that matches the right prospect with the right ads, across several channels.

The objective of online ads can include using content to showcase the brand’s message, product or promotion. It also involves targeting customers when they are most likely to buy a product. This often happens with Google Adwords or Search Engine Marketing (also known as SEM).

As such, there are some things you should know about Native Advertising, especially when using Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads). To get you up to speed, let’s start by reviewing a few commonly asked questions: 

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1. What are Microsoft Audience Ads?

You may already know Microsoft Ads as a cheaper alternative to running Google Adwords. They essentially let you target users who search for particular keywords on the Bing search engine.

Microsoft has its own Native advertising solution called Microsoft Audience Ads. These ads appear on a network of publishers, to help advertisers reach consumers at key moments of intent (outside of search).

Microsoft Audience Ads are targeted ads that appear on a web page. They have a heading, text, and a URL. Audience ads often display words such as “Sponsored” or “Ad”. These ads may also include images – such as when displayed on MSN.com – or the word Ad – when displaying in Outlook. The objective of Microsoft Audience Ads is to provide ads that match content with the intent of a user visiting a specific web page.

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2. Advantages of Native Advertising?

Native advertising finds its advantages in reaching a broader range of users. Such ads are read, viewed, and heard more often than the conventional ads we generally see on other media channels. This also leads the customer to develop a trust-based relationship with the publisher.

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3. Where and how to find Microsoft Audience Ads?

Currently, Microsoft Audience Ads most often appear on MSN web pages, which have over 800 million monthly visitors. No doubt, Microsoft will expand this feature from just MSN to other partners of its intent-based network. Let’s say you want to reach customers looking for travel. You could do so by going to MSN Travel. If you want to run a Finance-related ad, you could have it appear on Market Watch.

To decide where your ad is shown, Microsoft uses the below criteria:

  • What type of content have visitors searched recently
  • Sites that the visitors have previously visited
  • The current webpage content that a visitor is browsing

4. Process of Creating Microsoft Audience Ads?

Choose text ad as your ad type, whenever you require creating a Microsoft Audience Ad. Once you have specified the title, text, and URL, select the “Prefer audience ad format” option. Now, you have created a Microsoft Audience Ad.

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Microsoft Audience Ads allow you to adjust bids manually, adjust bids for conversions or allows for automated bidding. What also affects the costs of your ads is the Quality Score that is calculated by Microsoft Audience Ads. This is dependent upon the clicks, conversions, and your ad’s relevance. 

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5. How Are These Ads Created?

         This process of creating ads is fairly simple. It can be categorized into the following four steps:

       If you do not already have a Microsoft Ad account, create one. It prompts you to specify details, such as Business Name, First and Last Name, Email, and Primary Use (among other things). For Primary, select To Promote This Business. 

  • Click Create account. You have finished with the first step. 
  • In the second step, you are provided with two options. i.e. Import from Google, or Create a New Campaign. If you have a campaign on Google Ads, you can select Import from Google Adwords. 
  • Now, you can create a new campaign. Enter a Campaign Name, Language, and Location. For location, it is usually best to choose “Let me choose specific locations.“
  • Last – but not least – specify who should see your ads. You have finally arrived at the stage where you start preparing the ad you are about to create. 

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Keyword research is one of the most important parts of an ad. You need to find keywords people will be searching for if you really want to reach them.

Select suitable keywords and pay attention to monthly search volumes. Otherwise, you could come up with many keywords that don’t generate relevant ads or impressions. Also, specify your type of match for the keywords. Luckily, Microsoft Ads has a tool to help you with this process.

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There we are. Start writing your Ad now. Specify the URL, Title, and Text for the ad. Click Save to create your ad. Finally, specify your budget. The higher the budget, the more users your ad will reach.

6. How Do You Track Microsoft Audience Ads?

        You can track the results of the Microsoft Audience Ads in the following two ways:

  • In the Microsoft Advertising home page, look for the tab Ads. Then you should see a row called Audience ads total.
  • Include Ad Distribution when you schedule a report.

7. Where are Microsoft Audience Ads Available?

Microsoft Audience Ads are available in most countries today.

8. Can Videos be a Part of Microsoft Audience Ads?

      The truth is, why not. It’s hard to talk about online advertising in 2019 without the use of videos. For example, Microsoft has an Audience Ad format that is supported by video.

9. How to write Content for Audience Ads?

    Four steps to follow for writing content for Audience Ads:

  • Start by writing with the end customer in mind.
  • Provide some content, but keep customers wanting more.
  • Write a headline as if you are writing a story and not making a campaign.
  • Write content that pulls customers into your brand. The content should not diverge too much from the headline.

10. Why combine Search with Microsoft Audience Ads?

        Microsoft allows the ability to combine search with Audience Ads. This ensures advertisers can easily use both ad products. The easier the better. That is how more advertisers initially start with Audience Ads, to achieve their goal of maximum conversions.

11. How much Control do Advertisers have over Audience Ads?

       Not much. Most advertiser control happens through adjusting bids. You can opt-out of Audience ads altogether with a bid of -100% or maximize it by increasing bid value to say +900%

12. Can anything go wrong with Audience Ads?

        Yes. When creating your Ads, you need to be extra careful in deciding the title, content, images, and videos you might be using. What may work for one business might not bring the same results for another. It also depends upon how your potential customer reacts to your ad campaign.

Conclusion

      Microsoft Ads have already been able to help a growing number of advertisers. Though Google AdWords is far ahead of Microsoft Ads in terms of clientele, it is still a very effective platform you should consider to generate strong results and revenue.

         If you are already using AdWords then your campaigns can be simply imported with a few clicks. Even if you are new to paid search, Microsoft Audience Ads are very easy to set up. So why not get started today? 

Want more insights?

Join us at Native Advertising DAYS 2019 for industry insights from 500+ practitioners. Don’t wait, get your ticket TODAY!

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