Earlier this week, Bing announced the launch of their Native Ads product. Bing Native Ads are ad units that will appear within content on MSN.com and other yet-to-be-determined content-driven sites. Ads will be served based on user search history and page content.
There’s a good overview of what Native Ads are over at Wordstream. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth the time to review.
Now, I love Bing Ads. We get great results from Bing, usually at a lower cost than Google. And I’m a huge fan of innovative ad formats. I was super excited about Native Ads – until I found out that they’d be tacked on to our search campaigns.
Advertisers can control bids for Native Ads using bid modifiers, similar to how mobile bids are controlled today. It won’t be possible to run Bing Native Ads in separate campaigns from search, nor will it be possible to exclude placements within the Bing Native Ads network.
Initially, this is probably fine, as MSN is the only site in the network. But you can bet they’ll add AOL and other sites at some point – and every one of these sites is going to perform differently. Sure, we can create native ad units that are different from search ads, but we can’t exclude sites that don’t work, nor can we create different ads for MSN vs. other sites.
When the Bing-Yahoo Search Alliance first launched, I begged them to give us separate bids for Bing and Yahoo traffic, knowing that the two engines have very different audiences. No dice. Now, we’re getting Native Ads whether we want them or not, and our only recourse is to adjust bids via a bid modifier.
I’m not saying Bing Native Ads are going to perform poorly. I haven’t tested them, and I’m sure they’ll perform well for at least some of our clients. But native advertising isn’t search. Even when you layer intent onto the ad serving algorithm, the fact remains that these users are reading content, not actively searching. It’s really a hybrid of search and display.
To the PPC engines, tablets are the same as desktops, and native is the same as search, I guess. One more loss of control for advertisers.
At least I still have Van Halen to console me.
What do you think about Bing Native Ads? Are you excited to test them, or are you concerned about the lack of control? Share in the comments!