The search giants are at it again – with both Google and Microsoft each vying for advertisers’ attention with new ad types. In 2018, Google Ads launched Responsive Search Ads which allows users to upload multiple lines of text and using machine learning, Google Ads serves the best ad combination to users based on their search query and user behavior. Microsoft Ads has now one-upped Google’s Responsive Search Ads by offering what they are dubbing, “Multimedia Ads,” which are quite similar but also allow for images to be added into the mix.
The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), have always been very text-heavy. And, over the years both Google and Microsoft (historically Bing) have tried to liven it up with images and video, whether through image extensions or others features offered long ago. Could Multimedia Ads be the trick to making the SERPs more visual? Maybe.
Released as a beta program, and now rolling out globally, Multimedia Ads are “responsive” and visual image-rich ads that will be showcased on the mainline at the top of the search results page, or on the right rail on the search platform.
The ad type is created through advertisers to upload their own headlines, description lines and images, and then uses Microsoft’s machine learning capabilities to display the best ad combination for the keyword and user. Short on time? Just like Google, Microsoft Ads will also offer automated recommendations using any existing image assets, text ad assets and ultimately stock images. Careful though, once the recommendations are made, you’ll only have 7 days to apply the recommendations or dismiss them. If no action is taken (and you aren’t opted out of the auto-apply function), then these recommendations will auto-apply and go live in your account.
Pulled from the Microsoft Ads announcement, here’s what you can expect the new ad format to look like in the mainline and as a right-rail placement.
Mainline ad examples:
Right-rail ad examples:
While Multimedia Ads may not seem “game changing,” Microsoft Ads has already shared a roadmap for their future, leaving us to believe they may just end up being around long-term. Some of the upcoming enhancements for Multimedia Ads include the use of video, new CPM-based auto-bidding strategies, expansion to the Microsoft Audience Network, and combining these new ad types with product feeds for a unique retail experience.
Are you interested in running multimedia ads or excited for the future of a more visual search experience? If so, reach out to our team today!