It has become apparent that now is the time to start investing in native advertising; spending in native advertising reached over £6bn in 2019 and is set to grow around 25% by 2023 (source, Microsoft Ads). Dedicating time and budget into native advertising is going to have a greater chance to improve a company’s reach.

What Are Native Ads?

Native ads are another form of paid advertising but these are ads which conform to the layout and design of the website/platform they are being featured on. This means that they have to flow with the format of the website, also known as ‘In-Feed Ads’. These are usually found within social media feeds or as recommended content/ads on a web page, MSN for example.

What Is The Microsoft Network?

The Microsoft Network is a native advertising platform that uses brand-safe environments which advertisers can use to place their marketing on, using either search ads, products ads or display ads.

It uses customers search and Microsoft profile data alongside Microsoft Artificial intelligence (AI) to create a useful link between the advertiser and customer so that customers are targeted with relevant and specific ads based on their history and interests.

The platforms which marketing ads can be visible on include MSN, Outlook, Microsoft Edge and more, all of which have traffic in the millions on a daily basis.

The Microsoft Network is based on a CPC (cost per click) buy model, so you are only paying for the performance of your ads, rather than placements.

Why Use It?

The Microsoft Network uses brand-safe environments that avoid your ads showing against controversial articles & messaging.

Microsoft also has advanced machine learning tools which ensure that all content that is sent from the advertisers is reviewed and the content is checked for anything that could be thought of as harmful or offensive. 

You are likely to receive a higher click-through rate (CTR) with these types of ads as they are generally based on the customer’s interests and will drive traffic to a company’s website.

Applying the audience network to a new campaign whereby you are wanting to build your brand awareness or increase your reach as an initial target. The potential of finding and attracting new customers via Microsoft’s platform (MSN, Outlook, Microsoft Edge) is huge. 

Microsoft has also helped users by allowing the set up to be relevantly simple. You are able to use Google import to utilise the creatives/imagery from your Google Display Network (GDN) campaigns as well as using imagery that you already use across Facebook/Instagram, so new creative is not necessary.

Different Responsive Ad Formats On The Network

Microsoft currently supports two different native responsive ad formats, these include image-based ads and product feed-based ads.

Image-based ads work similar to how Google Display Ads work in that they can be visible across multiple platforms in the audience network and include an image, headline & description. If a GDN campaign is already set live in Google Ads, the assets can be used from them in the Microsoft image-based ads. 

An example of how image-based ads can be seen below.

Feed based ads are ad formats which use Microsoft’s products audiences to remarket products that a customer has previously interacted with. This type of ad uses the imagery which is already in a Bing/Google merchant centre shopping feed so there is no need to create additional imagery for the products.

These ad formats are great when using them for the ‘consideration’ or ‘conversion’ stage of a customer journey as they typically have high intent, especially when layering them with remarketing lists & in-market audiences to increase the engagement.

It is important that when using native advertising that the images you have in your feed or you use for the image-based ads are of a high quality and do not feature any text or logos as this is a very visual way of advertising.

Subtle and Relevant Advertising

With the ever-increasing use of AI in Marketing advertising, enabling your campaigns to be live on the Microsoft audience platforms will only enhance your account. 

By Microsoft using the rich data they have from customers alongside machine learning, this enables your campaigns and brand to increase their reach, visits and sales using less ‘in your face’ advertising to high potential customers.

Claire Henley

PPC Executive

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