Sari Harrison - MSFT
Posted on 03/31/14

As announced on March 26th Product Ads is now available for all US Bing Ads advertisers. This has been a long-requested ad product from many of you and today, the Engineers from Bing Ads would like to share our perspective on its release, setup details, and next steps.

What problem does Product Ads solve?

When delivering a product, the very first and most important question we ask ourselves in program management is what problem are we trying to solve?  In this case, the goal of Product Ads is to match the Bing user’s retail buy intent with the right retailer to satisfy that intent.  The user has something in mind that he/she would like to buy, but hasn’t decided what exactly, or maybe doesn’t know where to buy it from.  Product Ads solves this problem by displaying ads that combine an image of the product along with what the product is (the title), where they can buy it from (hopefully, your business) and the price of the product (a key part of decision!). When a user is looking to buy something, the image of the product they are looking for is a great way to help them quickly reach their goal – find a place to buy it.  Our user research shows a strong draw provided by the images and that the user will typically scan them whether or not they are in the mainline position or in the right rail.

It’s also helpful when users aren’t quite sure what exactly to buy, yet but are looking for a place to shop for a category of products. Maybe they can’t find the product in a store nearby or are looking to see if there is something even better suited to their needs in the vast world of eCommerce.  For example, I recently bought some new barstools online after exhausting the options in my local furniture stores.  Thanks to Product Ads, I am now a frequent customer of the store whose website provided me with what I was looking for.  In this case as well, the image and price is an important factor in the user determining where they would like to further explore and refine their choice.

OK, it’s great for the user, but what about the advertiser?

For the advertiser, Product Ads is giving you a way to bring user attention to each and every product you offer, and leveraging assets (the images and product data in this case) that you already have. To do this as easily as possible, we are introducing a new way of bidding and a new way of creating ads. 

Can you imagine creating an ad for every product in your inventory? Can you imagine having to enter in a set of keywords for each and every one? A fairly daunting task for sure. Instead, the ads are created automatically from the feed you provide us.  Each entry in the feed points to a particular product that you sell and we use that information to generate the ad creative you see, as shown in the example above.  Instead of keywords, you can place bids on groups of products that are defined by product targets. For example, by using brand or category as a grouping mechanism. For more information about submitting product feeds and setting up product targets, see this step-by-step guide: Create a Product Extension, Product Target and Product Ad .

How did we do it?

There were some fun new challenges to solve in our journey to release Product Ads (we love solving new problems!) and we also found that we were able to leverage a lot of great existing technology from Bing.  For example, this is the first time we have allowed images on ads at a large scale.  This required us to evolve in the area of editorial control and we were able to work with the existing Bing image crawling technology to crawl and store the images.

It was also a challenge to solve the problem of matching the query to the relevant products that should be shown for that query.  That is, without being able to rely on advertiser specified keywords to help. Instead, we are relying on the information in the offer feed to help – the title, description, and category of the offer.

Because Product Ads involves a new way of bidding and selection (no keywords, millions of products in advertiser provided data feeds), we also thought very hard around how we could best represent and report on the performance of Product Ads campaigns to our advertisers. Based on feedback from the pilot participants in the Product Ads program, we are launching a new Product Ads specific report in Bing Ads. Known as the "Product Offer" report, it is available under the "Reports" tab in Bing Ads. It gives you a view on your campaign performance (impressions, clicks, CPCs) at an individual product level of granularity. From amongst the millions of products in your data feed, you can now determine which ones perform the best, which ones don’t and make changes accordingly.

As usual, we are well aware of the fact that your life will be much easier if we are as compatible as possible with Google, since many of you are already using Google’s Product Listing Ads.  So, we did a bunch of work to make sure both your offer feeds from Google Merchant Center and your Product Listing Ad campaigns from Google AdWords can be moved over to Bing with little or no changes. For those using Google Shopping Campaigns, these are not yet importable.  Stay tuned for more information on this as it becomes available.

What’s next?

We are very excited to announce the general availability of Product Ads to our US advertisers. This is a great way to improve your return-on-investment (ROI) and we look forward to hearing what you think about it. We have lots of cool features and improvements planned out for Product Ads over the next few quarters and we'll continue, as always, to look for feedback from all of our users and advertisers. Keep the suggestions coming!

Comments? Questions? Please leave them below, visit our Feature Suggestion Forum, or reach our Engineering team at @BingAdsFeedback.

Thanks for reading!

Sari Harrison and Mustafa Lokhandwala

Note

This post was co-authored by:

Mustafa Lokhandwala

 

 

Mustafa Lokhandwala – MSFT

Principal Program Manager, Bing Ads Platform

Tags: product, Features and Releases, ads, product ads, Engineering POV
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