AI Opens New Opportunities in Microsoft Advertising

AI is transforming the face of search marketing across the board, and while Google may dominate the search ecosystem, the advancements aren’t limited to their properties alone. Microsoft Advertising, previously known as Bing Ads, has rolled out a series of useful new marketing options and features powered by AI and machine learning.

Far from a simple name change, the recent rebranding also reflects Microsoft’s goal to broaden the scope of its advertising offerings beyond the Bing search engine. As we’ll see, AI is playing a key role in this shift.

Why Microsoft Advertising?

If you’re not already taking advantage of Microsoft Advertising, consider this your wake-up call. Placing ads on Bing and other Microsoft platforms connects your brand to customers you may not find otherwise. In fact, there are approximately 63 million PC searchers on Bing that you can’t reach on Google.(1)

Bing users themselves are a diverse bunch, presenting myriad opportunities for businesses to identify likely customers. Half are college graduates, half are married, and one-third have a household income of $100,000 or more. (2) This is an audience that’s ready, willing, and able to buy – and it’s waiting for you.

To put it succinctly, if you’re not advertising with Microsoft, you’re missing out on lots of potentially high-value customers.

Microsoft Audience Network

Fortunately, Microsoft is using AI to make it even easier to engage the right customers across its properties. Earlier this year, it introduced the Microsoft Audience Network, a new audience marketing solution powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.

The Microsoft Graph provides rich consumer understanding based on a variety of signals, including search and web activity. (See below.) The Microsoft Audience Network uses this data to match the user’s intent with the advertiser’s product or service to drive better performance.

The Microsoft Graph develops an understanding of the user based on a range of signals.

Microsoft Audience Ads

How do advertisers take advantage of this powerful technology? With Microsoft Audience Ads, retailers can advertise with high-quality, cross-device native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network. This includes users on premium sites like MSN, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Edge, and other partners.

Microsoft Audience Ads are available in three formats: image-based ads, text ads, and feed-based product ads. The ads themselves can range from a simple text ad in your Outlook inbox to a large-scale Infopane image on the MSN home page. Images are compatible across platforms, meaning you can repurpose existing assets from your Google Display Network and Facebook Audience Network campaigns.

Microsoft Audience Ads can take the form of image-based ads, text ads, or feed-based ads.

Reach Customers Beyond Search

Microsoft Audience Ads allow advertisers to expand the reach of their search ads beyond the SERP and into a native environment across Microsoft’s publishing network. For the first time, intent data from search can be used outside of search to put the right ad in front of the right customer.

What does this mean for you?

  • A highly relevant audience of consumers who have shown intent or interest in your products or services.
  • Massive reach and high-quality, brand-safe placements on MSN, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Edge, and partner sites (with more to come).
  • Native ad formats that blend seamlessly into the core user experience and regularly outperform traditional display advertising.

The results: more clicks and conversions for your ad campaigns.

Connect with Audiences That Matter Most

Audience targeting is nothing new, but Microsoft Audience Ads offer a smarter way to pursue your ideal customer. Aside from traditional keyword targeting, you can add a variety of targeting dimensions to gain more impressions. These include user intent targeting like in-market audiences and custom audiences, user profile targeting via LinkedIn, along with location and device targeting.

Target customers by user intent, user profile, and location/device.

This helps you target your preferred audience rather than a specific placement while maximizing the value of every advertising dollar.

Who Should Use Microsoft Audience Ads?

Any advertiser interested in native advertising would do well to give Microsoft Audience Ads a try. Not only are they easy to manage, but they provide incremental opportunity for small to mid-sized businesses and agencies, as well as both B2B and B2C enterprises.

If you’re already managing audiences on the Google Display Network, Facebook Audience Network, or Yahoo Gemini, using Microsoft Audience Ads should be a smooth transition. As previously mentioned, you can use many of the same assets in your Microsoft Audience Ads.

Mastering Modern Search

With the search world evolving so quickly, keeping up can be a challenge. For more insights about the latest developments in search marketing and how your business can adapt, be sure to download our Modern Search Best Practices.

If you’re interested in finding out how NetElixir can help you take advantage of the new offerings available at Microsoft Advertising, we encourage you to learn more about our paid search services and contact us for more info.


  1. comScore (custom), September 2018. The Bing Network includes Microsoft Core Search sites, Yahoo (Bing Powered) sites and AOL Core Search sites in the U.S. PC Only.
  2. comScore Plan Metrix, US, December 2018, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. Bing Network represents unduplicated visitors to Bing Web, Yahoo U.S. Web Search and AOL.COM Web Search. Yahoo U.S. Web Search is at least 50% powered by Bing.
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