Beyond Search: Bing Native Ads Launch In Beta Across MSN.com
Expanded inventory enables advertisers to pair search intent signals with native advertising formats.
Microsoft’s search advertising platform Bing Ads is expanding reach with the beta launch of Bing Native Ads. Announced Monday, the test aims to connect search intent signals with native ad experiences on MSN.com.
Search query data, contextual signals and actions taken on advertisers’ sites can be used to help target ads on the MSN.com portal. The program, which the company first discussed earlier this year, facilitates the same level of targeting that is available for search ads: location, device type, time of day, day of week and site remarketing. Reporting and conversion tracking are available for native ads through the Bing Ads interface as well.
Microsoft isn’t the first to couple search and native on one platform. Yahoo launched Yahoo Gemini in early 2014 to enable mobile search and native ad buying on Yahoo owned and operated properties. (The company has begun serving desktop search ads since renegotiating its search deal with Microsoft this spring.)
The Bing Native Ads beta is launching in the US across the MSN portal, which had an estimated 1.6 billion visits globally in June, according to SimilarWeb. Over a quarter of that traffic (26.7 percent) came from the US. The company says it plans to expand to other markets later this year.
Advertisers have been escalating investment in native ad campaigns. A survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found nearly 60 percent of advertisers polled increased native ad budgets by 55 percent in 2014 over the previous year. For 2014, eMarketer pegged native ad spend at $3.2 billion and forecasts that will increase 34.4 percent in 2015 to $4.3 billion.
The Bing Ads extension to native advertising comes a month after Microsoft closed a deal with AOL to outsource display ad sales and take over search advertising delivery on AOL from Google beginning January 1, 2016.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Bing Native Ads was first discussed at an industry event last year. The company first shared news of the upcoming beta in February.