Microsoft’s Bing Ads To Test Native Advertising On MSN.com
Move positions Bing Ads as an "intent network" and gets in on native ad growth.
Microsoft’s Bing Ads has plans to test native ads on MSN.com later in the year, extending beyond the search ads it delivers across the Yahoo Bing Network.
Steve Sirich, general manager for Bing Ads product marketing, explained by phone yesterday that ad targeting will “pull intent from Bing Ads and extend that into relative programming on MSN.” “It will add more, relevant volume and great connection for advertisers,” he says, and drive the idea of Bing Ads as an “intent network”.
Players such as Yieldbot and Intent Media have staked their (growing) businesses on the idea of harnessing first-party intent data for better ad targeting and performance. Microsoft has both the publisher assets with MSN.com and intent signals and ad tech in Bing Ads to theoretically make this union work.
Yahoo, Microsoft’s partner in search advertising, already entered the native ad market with native stream and image ads served through its Gemini platform across Yahoo sites. It added third-party syndication last year with “Yahoo Recommends” product.
The test is expected to start in the second half of 2015. Native ads will extend to mobile, though it’s not clear if that inventory will be available at the start of testing.
If Bing Ads makes it easy for advertisers to test the native ads within its existing interface and the intent signals and targeting prove effective, it could make for a fluid transition for current advertisers to increase spend on the platform. The added volume potential, long a complaint when compared to Google, and native ad formats could also help to entice AdWords advertisers to get on Bing’s ad platform.
Hopping on the native ads band wagon in a way that Google so far has not, is one of the rare instances in which Bing Ads has moved ahead of Google rather than playing catch up.
Asked if Bing Ads’ “intent network” would eventually extend beyond MSN.com inventory, Sirich said they do envision that.
Native advertising is expected to experience double-digit growth throughout the coming years, rising from $2.2 billion in 2013 to $8.8 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer. In a recent ANA poll, the majority of marketers said they plan to increase spending on native ads in the coming year.
Bing Ads says the beta test will launch in the second half of this year.