The launch underscores the continuing evolution of the search ad from a simple text link to a richer ad experience. Both Google and Bing product ads deliver images, pricing, ratings, and other information on the search results page when a user searches for a keyword or phrase. Unlike traditional text links, the ads deliver key product information—and an eye-catching image—to help consumers move down the path toward making a purchase.
Bing’s Product Ads work similarly to Google’s Product Listing Ads. Advertisers submit product information in product catalogs via their Bing Merchant Center accounts. A user enters a search query relevant to a product, and Bing pulls information from the catalog feed to generate the ad, including images, price, and brand name. The ads appear in the mainline or sidebar for searches relevant to an item. Also similar to Google, Bing’s ads are charged on a cost-per-click basis.
According to comScore data, Bing’s Product Ads tap into a large number of potential consumers. The Yahoo Bing Network tallies 510 million monthly retail searches, and it accounts for 22 percent of all U.S. retail paid clicks. Additionally, about 31 million retail searchers on the Yahoo Bing Network cannot be reached on Google.
Product Ads was also intended to be user-friendly for time-pressed retailers, according to David Pann, Microsoft’s general manager for the search network.
“You don’t have to write ad copy and develop keywords for each campaign,” he wrote in the company’s announcement. “Instead, Product Ads builds upon work that you’ve already done, automatically serving the appropriate image, price, and brand name.”
Product Ads also take up more space on the search results page than a traditional text ad, and they can show simultaneously with text ads, giving advertisers even more real estate on a single results page. Advertisers already running Google’s Product Listing Ads can easily import those campaigns into their Bing accounts as well.
With that level of traffic, Bing’s Product Ads could be a powerful tool for online retailers looking to expand the scope of their campaigns.