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What does the rebranding of Bing mean for advertisers?

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Last month saw Bing officially rebranded as Microsoft Advertising. As part of this, Microsoft is intending to place a big focus on personalisation and AI, with the following statement from Rik van der Kooi, corporate VP for Microsoft Advertising: “In the next year, we’re introducing more advertising products with built-in AI, more connected to your data and your business”.

As part of this announcement, van der Kooi focused in on two products:

  1. Microsoft Audience Network (MSAN) – This launched around a year ago and uses AI and profile understanding to allow marketers additional reach across the Microsoft network. Some advancements will be made in the coming months, with the release of the product also extending to the UK and Canada.
  2. Sponsored products – Announced at a similar time to the rebrand, this product (available in US only) will enable brands to boost visibility and drive more traffic for their top products in shopping campaigns.

So, what will the Microsoft Advertising platform look like in a year’s time? Although nobody fully knows, we can expect some big changes to happen.

All Response Media viewpoint
Microsoft claims to have half a million advertisers, which has seen growth quarter-over-quarter for several years. With all the changes expected over the next year with Microsoft, we can expect this to keep climbing, however, it’s unlikely to ever exceed Google, with advertiser numbers already in the millions. This rebrand also comes 7 months after Google’s rebrand from AdWords to Google Ads, reflecting the platform’s move from keyword-based search ads into one that supports many different ad formats across multiple placements. Is Bing just trying to follow in Google’s footsteps? It seems so! Despite this, we shouldn’t discount the opportunity presented by Bing and the future of Microsoft overall.

Initially, I’d say that the rebrand isn’t going to affect us that much in the UK and other European markets, with minimal changes in the short term. However, come this time next year, we’d expect the platform to have developed a lot of new capabilities.

Yet, there are still a lot of unknowns. Where will their native offering sit? Will LinkedIn advertising eventually merge into the Microsoft platform? With Google ‘owning’ mobile, will Microsoft only see market share growth in the desktop space?

Outside of the unknowns, the rebrand and changes within Microsoft is ultimately a positive thing for our clients. Anything that gives Google more competition is healthy for the market, and as an agency we want to place investment based on performance, regardless of where the inventory is. Therefore, the stronger the Microsoft tech, the greater the opportunity for our client partners.