How to Optimise Your Search Campaigns For The Microsoft Audience Network

Search Campaigns on The Microsoft Audience Network

Now that Microsoft Advertising has made it default for all Search Campaigns to be eligible to show on the Audience Network, advertisers need to ensure that their campaigns are prepared for this increased visibility.

Search Campaigns & Audience Network

The reason why advertisers need to optimise their Search campaigns accordingly is that the Search and Audience Network are very different:

Ads run through Search Campaigns are shown in search results, and are predominately text based, with the exception of those using Image extensions. 

Search Ad on Microsoft Search Network
Above: An example of an Search ad in a search result

Ads run through Audience campaigns are shown outside of search results as people use the internet and browse different websites. Audience ads are predominately made from images with accompanying text (such as Headlines and Descriptions), but they can also be feed-based.  

Example of a Microsoft Audience Network Advert.
Above: Audience Ads on the Outlook homepage. Image from:

So whilst Search Campaigns have always been created in accordance with them appearing in search results, they now need to be created to ensure that they have the relevant assets and set up to be able to fit in with Audience ads on the Audience Network. They need to be optimised to work in search results and as ads which appear as individuals browse the internet.

Here are 4 things that advertisers can to ensure that their Search Campaigns are optimised for the Audience Network:

1. Use Image Extensions

Image Extensions are an effective way of drawing more attention to your ads in Search results. They help to draw the user’s eye in by adding a visual element to your text and also increasing the footprint of your ads on the results page. The added benefit of adding an Image Extension to your Search Campaigns is that you are now providing the system with image assets to use when they auto generate ads for the Audience Network. You can add up to 6 different images which present examples of the product or services you are offering.

By using Image Extensions your ads will be able to feature images, rather than just text alone, making them more fitting for the Audience Network. 

2. Add Headline and Description Variations

The responsive nature of ads on the Audience Network means that your ads could face long or short character limits. Therefore, depending on the format and size the ad takes, some of your text might be cut off and an ellipsis used instead.

To help counteract this, your Search ads should include a mixture of both long and short Headlines and Descriptions to give the platform a better chance of selecting the most suitable option.

3. Review Conversion Tracking

Whilst it goes without saying that you should already have a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag set up, it is very easy to neglect Conversion Goals and not keep them updated with the latest changes on your website. Therefore it’s time to audit your Conversion Goals to ensure that you are tracking the right actions, so that the system knows what you want to achieve!

This may help your Search ads when showing on the Audience Network as the system will have a better understanding of the type of person you want to engage with. 

4. Utilise Automated Bid Strategies

We can all be guilty of having a set and forget approach to some campaign settings, and reviewing Bid Strategies is a job which is easy to fall off your radar. However, now that your Search ads are eligible to show on the Audience Network, you should review them to ensure they’re still relevant to your business objectives.

Again this goes back to instructing the system exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve. Educate the platform on what you want by pulling as many levers as possible!

And if you aren’t already using Automated Bid Strategies, then now is a good time to start.

For more information on the Microsoft Audience Network and how you can control where your ads are shown, please take a read of ‘How to Opt Out of the Microsoft Audience Network’.

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