Yesterday, Bing announced that they would be entering the native ad space to “combine…strong intent signals with native experiences which are relevant and natural.” Let’s try and decode some of the marketing buzzwords so you can understand what that means in plain English.
Online advertising often sticks out like a sore thumb. Banner ads are easy to ignore, and text ads tend to be clearly defined with a border or tag that tells the user, “This is advertising!” Native ads seek to combat that problem by offering ad units that blend more seamlessly with the existing content on a site. Bing’s offering will first show up on MSN.com in the form of rectangular ad units that look something like this:
This ad is placed in line with features and articles about cars, in a section of the site where users can search for specific models. This brings us to “strong intent signals”.
Bing is using “intent signals” to target these ads, which basically just means they’re relying on a broad set of data to find out what the user wants. This could be anything from search terms (“where to buy a car”) to browsing behavior (looking at a comparison of different vehicle models). When Bing sees a user that they believe is ready to make a purchase, they want to serve ads to that user that match their intent.
In the example above, a car company is advertising their latest model to someone who is researching makes and models on MSN. Cars make for an easy example of consumer intent, but how can a small, local business take advantage of this new ad unit?
Full Bing Ads Integration
Bing is assuring advertisers that their native ads will be just as easy to create as a normal search campaign. This means that local advertisers should be able to target users based not just on their intent, but on their location (among other options). So if you’re a roofing contractor, you should be able to create ads that target users in your geographical area. Such an ad would be right at home if it were integrated into a home improvement article:
By targeting this ad to the geography your business serves, you’ll be offering a solution for users who might be looking to have work done on their home. This should not only improve your company’s visibility, but provide an additional opportunity to capture users at a time when they’re ready to buy.