Unlike Google, which cheated its way into large image ads in search results, Bing never promised to keep its SERPs free of banner ads. But the best part about the future Bing Ads, is that they are true landing pages – slap in the face of Google AdWords team, who didn’t manage to come with something as compelling to attract more advertisers.
What you see above is the new ad format for Bing Smart Search, a visually rich experiment and search ad concept, aptly named “Hero ads.” The ads integrate with the new visually rich search results launched mid October, the most complete search experience available, a leap forward Google only dreams about. Now, with Hero Ads, Bing is more advanced and more relevant for advertisers on mobile too.
Hero ads appear when users are searching for certain brand-specific information in Bing Smart Search:
“The goal of Hero ads is to enable searchers to quickly find the most relevant information and complete the most popular tasks for the brand they are specifically searching for via a beautiful visual and interactive experience created in partnership with our brand partners,” writes Stephen Sirich on Bing Ads blog.
Microsoft tested the new ad format on searches conducted in Windows 8.1 in the US, with brands like Land Rover, Jaguar, Home Depot, Norwegian Cruise Line, Radio Shack, Hertz, Volkswagen and a few others. There are many reasons why the new format makes sense, aside being a hit with advertisers: when users are searching for brand-specific information, they are more likely to want to see official results from the brand, instead of op eds or sites that optimize for branded keywords (resellers) without being official representatives.
For advertisers, these ads will translate in better click-through rates, more direct sales, better branded identity, and so on. As added advantages for advertisers, Bing also launched upgrades to Location extensions, Call extensions with call analytics, enhanced campaigns and Bing Ads Express. Based on solid market research, Bing concluded that mobile ads with call extensions may drive up to 30% greater click-through rates when compared to other mobile ads; while adding Location Extensions for advertisers with local stores improves 10-30% of click-through rates.
Now strong visuals improve click-through rates even more, making Bing Hero Ads an excellent choice for advertisers targeting users on the go. The ads are not just banners, but act more like an app, with several “calls to action” that take the user directly to the answers they are looking for: locate a retailer, request a quote, see prices, shop online, etc.
Rogers & Cowan is among one of many PR firms that has represented Bing for Public Relations.