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Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Microsoft Advertising announces Automotive Ads open beta in the US and UK

The new ad type allows dealership advertisers to expand their reach and see the same increase in conversions they might have from Image Extensions — with the ease of use that feeds provide.

What are they? “Automotive Ads are feed-based product ads where automotive marketers can upload all the attributes of their car inventory (make, model, year, trim, image, URLs, etc.) and showcase them on the Microsoft Bing.com SERP right rail, the Bing image results page, and native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network,” said the announcement

What they look like. Microsoft’s Automotive Ads are triggered in both search and Bing image search for purchase intent searches and vehicle research. For the pilot program, the ads will show in the right rail of searches on Bing or above the images in vehicle-research-related images searches.

Automotive Ads in Bing search
Automotive Ads in image search

“The offerings from your feed are matched to queries automatically, and they serve alongside existing text ads with a separate auction, so there’s no bidding up on yourself,” said the blog.

How to participate. Advertisers looking to participate in the pilot program must be in the US or the UK. You can apply through your Microsoft Advertising rep or apply through this form. Participants must have a feed that includes the following vehicle attributes:

  • Vehicle ID
  • Title
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Trim
  • Final URL
  • Image URLs
  • State of Vehicle (New/Used/CPO)

There are also image requirements to be a part of the open beta. Any pictures provided must be high quality and relevant to the listed vehicle, ad and landing page. The images must show a zoomed-in exterior view (it’s recommended to ensure the first images are exterior views if you have multiple image URLs). Images cannot include watermarks or promotional text.

Why we care. With the pandemic putting a damper on public transit, the automotive industry continued to fare well while other verticals may have seen larger sales dips. Factories closing caused a shortage of new vehicles meaning existing inventory was lower for dealers and used vehicles were in much higher demand

Previously, automotive search marketers were not able to use feeds in Microsoft Advertising as they did on Cars.com, Craigslist, or even Facebook Marketplace. Many auto-focused advertising agencies created large workarounds to be able to use their existing feeds to show ads in Bing search and to Microsoft’s audience network. This beta opens up the use of automotive feeds for auto advertisers using Microsoft Advertising. Automotive advertisers will also be able to use the API from day 1 of this pilot.

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