Microsoft has started testing social extensions in search ads. The handy new tool will allow brands to promote their social channels within search ads by placing links directly to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts beneath the ad copy of texts. The extension is now in beta in the US.
Microsoft claims that the new tool will help to bridge the gap between paid search and social media by bringing them together so they work for each other. The social extensions have a network icon next to each link, and marketers can also include a hashtag. Users will be able to click through to the respective network by clicking on these links.
Bing Ads Platform Program Manager Aurea Astro said in a blog post: “We believe driving potential customers to your presence on social networks to join a conversation will allow you to engage customers more directly.
“Brand marketers can push engagement levels using traffic coming from search to social. Customer Relationship Managers who want to push customers to social for help and/or info especially in ‘real time’ scenarios can do so easily.”
Boost customer engagement
The arrival of social extensions could be a boon for advertisers, as it will be a new and interesting way to direct users to social media channels. Advertisers can currently use sitelinks to achieve the same end goal, but these do not appear to be as effective or consistent as the solution now proposed by Microsoft. Astro added that social extensions can also drive click-through rates and customer engagement when used in conjunction with other ad extensions.
Google used to have its own social extensions, but the company discontinued the feature late last year. Unlike Microsoft’s implementation, which can link to various accounts and posts, Google’s feature for AdWords simply showed Google+ follower accounts, which limited its impact and usefulness for content creators.
Microsoft is asking users to get in touch on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Bing Ads to provide feedback on the new addition and discuss whether it should become a permanent fixture in the Bing Ads portfolio.