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Microsoft’s latest move

As of this week Microsoft Ads have announced that they are launching a new ad format that will feature on the right rail or in the mainline at the top of the search results page. The ad format allows you to combine your own images, headlines, and ad copy with machine learning to display the best fit ad for the searcher and query.

The beta also includes auto recommendation for building your ads as most marketers were not prepared for this beta which also allows Microsoft to recommend the best way to set up to give the format the best way of succeeding.

The ads are similar to Responsive Search Ads with the inclusion of visual assets as well as text. Microsoft have recommended that you upload multiple ad variations of high-quality images.

All Response Media viewpoint

The new ads will give advertisers the opportunity to be an exclusive ad type and the added image creatives may draw more attention to the ads and therefore increase CTR% which is what we’re always aiming for across search. It’s also been a while that Microsoft Ads have launched a new feature so this will excite existing advertisers. Google did try and launch a similar ad format called ‘image ad’s in 2019 however after a short period of time they sunset this format, likely due to poor consumer experience so it will be very interesting to see how these develop.

Microsoft are developing their search offering and this new multimedia ad is progressive however they are not moving forward with some basic features that advertisers are able to utilize across other engines, such as Google.

One of those being advanced call tracking – something Microsoft have never got behind and for clients who are looking to direct calls into their business this is a key functionality that they have neglected. Although you can use call extensions across Microsoft Ad’s the call tracking isn’t something that can be used at an advanced level leaving advertisers no option but to leverage this elsewhere.

Another example is big strategies, Microsoft have fewer bid strategies than Google, you are able to optimise towards ROAS, click and conversion but missing ones such as impression share and conversion value, This is an areas which you’d expect parity.

It appears Microsoft are following the trend of the bigger initiatives however leaving behind some of the smaller refinements that a lot of advertisers need and want to make search work for them.

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