September 27, 2021

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Microsoft Advertising launches new Tours and Activities ad format in open beta

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Microsoft Advertising is introducing Tours and Activities ads, a new ad format that is unique to the platform, the company announced Wednesday. Tours and Activities ads are feed-based ad types that can display for relevant queries; advertisers in the U.S. and UK can sign up for the open beta by filling out this form or getting in touch with their Microsoft Advertising representative.

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An example of Tours and Activities ads in Bing search results. Image: Microsoft Advertising.

How Tours and Activities ads work. This new ad format is created dynamically using unique feed files that include images, price, reviews, videos, ratings, etc. The format leverages Microsoft’s AI, so keywords are not required.

You can learn more about the required and optional attributes at Microsoft Advertising’s Tours and Activities ads help page.

Where Tours and Activities ads can appear. They can show for relevant queries in Bing search, as shown in the first image above. This ad type can also appear in Bing Maps when a user searches for a particular destination or when they search for things to do in a given location, as shown below. Within the Bing Maps interface, Tours and Activities ads can also be triggered by hovering over landmark pins.

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Image: Microsoft Advertising.

In addition, these ads can also be seen as a carousel within Bing Travel Guides (shown below).

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Image: Microsoft Advertising.

Why we care. People are rapidly re-engaging in leisure activities that were pushed by the wayside when the pandemic ushered in social distancing and other safety measures. Nearly 40% of Bing users said they want access to outdoor activities, like hiking and camping, and 26% said they’re interested in museums and other cultural attractions, according to a Microsoft’s Vacationers 2021 survey. With this new ad format, advertisers in the travel and leisure industries have another way to reach potential travelers and harness the heightened demand.

In its announcement, Microsoft Advertising was also keen to highlight the efficiency of Tours and Activities ads: In its pilot program, a major online travel agency reported that it exceeded its CPA target by 24%, an activity booking platform outperformed the ROAS it was getting with text ads by 16%, and a major tour provider’s CPC decreased by 36%. If this is representative of real-world results, advertisers using this format may stand to get more leads and improve the efficiency of their campaigns.


About The Author

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George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.
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