Microsoft Advertising Rolls Out Cruise Ads To An Ailing Industry

Some cruise lines like Norwegian, which took a conservative approach to passenger COVID-19 safety, will begin to relax its onboard mask vaccination policy beginning March 1.

As cruise lines attempt to recover from COVID-19 shutdowns, Microsoft Advertising has rolled out Cruise Ads, the latest vertical-specific ad format. For now, it is only available to advertisers that are targeting customers in the U.S.

Microsoft’s latest vertical relies on search intent data and an understanding of users’ needs to offer advertisers a better advertising experience to attract cruise enthusiasts, which leverages data feeds to match offers in searches.

Keywords can be used to optimize the campaign, but are not necessary.

The new ad units aim to meet the unique needs of industries like Travel Experiences, Financial Services, and Automotive.



COVID-19 is still upending the cruise industry, according to reports, but Microsoft’s Cruise Ads may make it a little easier on their marketing teams. The ads appear on the right rail of Microsoft Bing search results and run alongside the text ad placements. These ads can be triggered by queries including the cruise name, location, length, and more.

Microsoft said the best results come from feed files that contain business data such as cruise duration, transportation options, and excursions searchers will be considering. Advertisers just need to fill in the schema.

This is Microsoft’s fifth vertical-specific ad format aimed at driving more engagement.

The CDC did have a Conditional Sail Order, which was required to provide information on COVID-19 positivity rates onboard ships. That program has since ended, according to one report. At the time it was the only travel industry segment required to make the information public.

At the end of December, the CDC advised American consumers not to take cruises. Ships were turned away from ports if they had an outbreak onboard.  

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