Microsoft Advertising is launching an open beta that is specific to the automotive industry. The Automotive ads, announced Wednesday, are rolling out in the United States and United Kingdom.
The feed-based ad product enables marketers to upload all the attributes of the dealership’s car inventory such as make, model, year, trim, images, and URLs, and have them serve up in the right rail of the Bing search engine results page and image results page, as well as on native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network.
The process of buying a car continues to change with the emergence of companies like Carvana, CarMax, Vroom, and others. COVID-19 led to thousands of dealerships closing their showrooms and forced the automotive industry to not only sell the cars online, but seal the deal that way as well.
At Google, Searches for “car sales” grew globally by more than 60% year-over-year, and searches for “best car under” grew globally by more than 80% year-over-year. Some 64% of new auto buyers said they would look for even more information online.
Microsoft created Automotive Ads to showcase photos of the vehicles and pricing, reaching new car shoppers who are close to making a purchase.
The idea is to increase the click-through rate (CTR) and produce qualified leads.
Marketers can use the feeds with keyword-less campaigns to generate ads faster, and keep ads accurate as inventory and prices change. There’s no need to tie the feed to Bing Places.
No keywords are required for the Automotive ads to trigger an advertisement. The offerings from the feed are matched automatically to queries. They serve alongside existing text ads with a separate auction, so there is no bidding.
Microsoft recommends that advertisers start with daily budgets between $50 and $500 to ensure consistent results for learning and optimization, set bids similar to text ad campaigns and to monitor performance and average position, and adjust up or down as needed.
It is also recommended that marketers include location targeting in campaign settings as “United States” or “United Kingdom,” depending on the region targeting. This ensures that ads are eligible to serve to all users who are searching from within the region.
Marketers should not apply any bid modifiers based on audiences. Microsoft recommends that marketers measure and monitor baseline performance first, and then fine-tune the return on investment based on audiences.
Advertisers are seeing early success. Third-party sites and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have seen on average a 6-15% incremental click lift and 3-8% incremental conversion lift when running Automotive Ads. Channel partners have seen an average incremental click lift of 8%+.1
For OEMs, Automotive Ads have had 7-16% lower cost per clicks (CPCs) than their corresponding non-brand targeted text ads, and third-party sites have seen a 28-40% drop in CPCs for their Automotive Ads.