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Last month, an automotive case study from Microsoft Advertising showed a positive linear relationship between clicks on commercial links and auto sales, with a statistical significance of 99%. What’s more, research shows that brands get 2.1 times more clicks with paid ads than those based solely on organic. Now, they present a new way for car advertisers to generate those clicks.

Today, Microsoft Advertising is announcing an open beta for Automotive Ads, a new ad unit, in the US and UK.

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What are auto ads?

For advertisers familiar with Shopping ads, car ads should be somewhat similar. Automotive ads are feed-based product ads (similar to Shopping ads), where attributes are imported through a feed. Ads will then serve for queries that match the feed, such as vehicle search and purchase intent queries. Unlike Buy Ads, Automotive Ads do not require a Merchant Center, as the feed will be uploaded directly to the advertiser’s Microsoft Advertising account.

In addition to SERP placements, automotive ads are also eligible for native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network, which can be targeted to both proprietary and third-party audiences.

“A feed allows you to target multiple points in the customer journey because automotive ads can be leveraged in both SERP and native placements. Suppose you are targeting audiences in the marketplace and engaging a prospect with a native ad . It piques their interest so they do a search and now they see your search ad and your car ad from the feed. « They might not have considered this vehicle before, but after seeing your car ad natively. and clicked on search, they’re now in your funnel. « 

– John Lee, Evangelism Manager at Microsoft Advertising

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How are the ads displayed?

Currently, in Bing’s SERP, Microsoft Ads shows auto ads on the right rail and also on the Bing image results page. Microsoft is also planning to start serving automotive ads on the mainnet soon (just below the search bar).

Auto ads are currently only showing on desktops, but mobile formats will be available soon.

Auto ads can run alongside existing search campaigns for the same queries, meaning that advertisers are eligible for both types of ads (auto ads and search ad) to run in the SERP for the same bet. in competition.

Example of automotive ads in SERPExample of automotive ads on straight rail SERP Bing.com

Example Bing Image Results for Automotive AdsExample of automotive ads on the Bing image results page

Getting started with car ads

Since automotive ads are still in beta, advertisers must request access. Probably the fastest way to get into the beta is to contact your Microsoft Advertising representative, if you have one. If you don’t have a representative, fill out this form to request access. Note that this beta is currently only available for US and UK advertisers.

Flow configuration

Once you have access to it, the first step is to provide a feed. To do this, go to « Tools », then to « Company data » in your advertising account. (Unlike purchasing, there is no merchant center or additional account required to handle the flow). As an added bonus, since Microsoft recognizes that many companies in the automotive industry depend on APIs to manage inventory data, APIs are in place to simplify flow management.

Example of an automotive ad flowExample of an automotive ad feed format

Some of the required flow attributes include: Vehicle ID, Title, Make, Model, Year, Version, Final URL, Image URL, Vehicle Condition (New / Used / CPO) and Price

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Other interesting feed attributes include: Body style, engine, transmission, transmission, fuel type, interior color and exterior color

It is strongly recommended that you configure the feed to refresh automatically, which will help ensure that the feed, and therefore your campaigns, stay up to date.

Optimize your photos

When it comes to advertising vehicles, it is no secret that images play a major role, so it is extremely important that advertisers provide high quality images in order for advertisements to be as effective as possible.

Good and bad images of automotive power

Microsoft recommends that the first images included in the feed be exterior views, although additional images may include interior views.

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Images should show a clear view of the vehicle and should not be enlarged too much to get a good overview. Images must be free of watermarks and promotional text.

If the images are updated, be sure to update the image URL in the feed so that the new image is reflected in the ad.

Results of the first beta testers

Microsoft has been testing auto ads with early beta testers, including auto brands promoting new inventory and third-party sites showcasing their used inventory.

They reported that advertisers saw an average 6-15% increase in clicks and a 3-8% increase in conversions.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) saw CPCs 7-16% lower than their non-branded search campaigns, and third-party sites saw a 28-40% drop in CPCs.

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Sources:

Microsoft Ads ad

Microsoft Insights Automotive Case Study, February 2021

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