September 17, 2021

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Video and vertical-based product ads pilots arrive on Microsoft Audience Network

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Video ads and vertical-based product ads are now being piloted on the Microsoft Audience Network, Microsoft announced on Tuesday. In the announcement, the company also revealed disclaimers in ads, new third-party integrations with Universal Event Tracking, flexible insertion orders and inline appeals for rejected offers in Microsoft Merchant Center.

Video ads pilot on Microsoft Audience Network. Video ads are now available on the Microsoft Audience Network as a pilot program in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the U.K.

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An example of a video ad placement. Image: Microsoft.

Videos can be between six seconds and two minutes in length, and video ads on publisher partner placements will also be coming soon. To test out this new product, contact your Microsoft Advertising support representative or the Microsoft Advertising support team.

Vertical-based product ads pilot on Microsoft Audience Network. The company is also piloting another Microsoft Audience Network feature — vertical-based product ads, which use an advertiser’s existing feed to generate ads for auto listings, entertainment events, hotels, tours and activities and vacation rentals in native environments.

“Microsoft’s audience intelligence delivers the right message to the right audience and matches the user with the items in the feed where they’ve shown interest, helping you better connect with potential customers who are ready to convert,” Microsoft said in the announcement. The pilot is currently only available to advertisers in the U.S. and UK; to participate, get in touch with your Microsoft Advertising support representative or contact the Microsoft Advertising support team.

Disclaimers for regulated industries. Microsoft Advertising is introducing disclaimers in ads (as shown below). While this feature isn’t specific to regulated industries, it can be particularly useful for advertisers in verticals in which consumers may need to be informed about details related to your business.

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Image: Microsoft.

To use disclaimers in ads, advertisers must first create a brand new campaign, as they are only enabled at the campaign level.

Coming soon: Inline appeals in Microsoft Merchant Center. Microsoft will be adding inline appeals for product ads to Microsoft Merchant Center ahead of the holidays (the company did not specify an exact date). This feature is designed to give advertisers an overview of policy violations that may be driving editorial rejections for offers.

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Image: Microsoft.

Advertisers will be able to request an appeal/manual review from the interface (shown above) with a single click for all rejections in that particular policy. Note: the maximum number of total requests is 100,000 offers per month per store.

New third-party integrations with Universal Event Tracking. As an attempt to streamline the Universal Event Tracking (UET) setup process, Microsoft is also launching third-party integrations with Google Tag Manager, Shopify, Squarespace and WordPress.

To get started with one of these integrations, select the “Add the tag through a website editing platform” option during setup and instructions for the chosen platform will be provided.

Flexible insertion orders. Flexible insertion orders can now be used to set open-ended and/or unlimited budget insertion orders.

Why we care. Microsoft Advertising’s September announcements offer a variety of quality-of-life improvements for paid search marketers:

  • Microsoft Audience Network’s new video format may help brands increase awareness as well as engagement with their ads.
  • Disclaimers in ads may help advertisers in regulated industries stay compliant.
  • Inline appeals may help decrease the amount of time your team spends reaching out to Microsoft Advertising’s support team. This can be especially useful for resolving rejections during the holiday shopping season, a crucial time of the year for many merchants.
  • The new UET integrations may mean a simpler setup process for event tracking.
  • Flexible insertion orders may provide advertisers with a more versatile way to manage their budgets.

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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