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A Guide To Microsoft Audience Network

June 8, 2020
Will Haswell
written by Will Haswell
Digital Acquisition

Read our guide on Microsoft Audience Network and how it uses cutting edge AI to find the perfect audience for your Microsoft Ads campaigns.

Smart marketers are on a constant search for the best ways to reach target markets and audiences, and the most efficient ways to communicate a brand’s core message. That’s where the Microsoft Audience Network comes in, providing a smart way for you to reach your ideal customer, with everything that you need to do it in one place.

What is the Microsoft Audience Network?

In 2019, Bing Ads was rebranded as Microsoft Advertising, in a move which would put people at the forefront of marketing, while leveraging big data, automation and AI, to give the modern marketer a much more effective way to reach profitable leads.

Microsoft Audience Network is a native advertising solution, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, offering advanced audience targeting and brand-specific native ad placements. It’s informed by Microsoft Graph and powered by artificial intelligence (AI), giving you a great way to reach millions of relevant customers outside of search, while creating more personal ads and really connecting to your customers’ choices.

What is Microsoft Graph?

Microsoft Graph using LinkedIn data
Microsoft Graph using LinkedIn data

The Microsoft Graph is a network of data sets that spots trends and insights for advertisers to use in their campaigns. You could think of Microsoft Graph as the core of the Microsoft Audience Network, or indeed every available Microsoft platform. Microsoft Graph connects multiple Microsoft platforms, including the Windows OS and Office 365, but also external platforms such as Android.

Microsoft Graph data sets include:

  • Search history
  • User activity
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • Demographics
  • In-market Audiences

The main advantage of Microsoft Graph is the ability to reach more customers based on qualitative data. Combined with Microsoft’s state-of-the-art machine learning, you can turn that reach and those impressions into better clicks and leads.

Why should you use Microsoft Audience Ads?

Microsoft Audience Ads can revolutionise your marketing campaigns. If you are already using Facebook and Google Ads, you might wonder what difference Microsoft Audience Ads can make, so here’s a look at some of the benefits.

Additional volume

While Google search accounts for over 3.5 billion searches every day, Microsoft Ads still manages to capture 24% of the US search market with over 4 billion searches every month and 63 million people that Google doesn’t reach. If you are only focusing on Google, you are missing out on a vast ad reach. Using Microsoft Audience Ads can help you to boost both impressions and click-through rate, and remember, using Microsoft Ads doesn’t take away from your Google Ads success, it only adds to it.

Changeable metrics specific to your business

The Microsoft Audience Network gives you access to multiple business-specific metrics, giving you the tools that you need to grow your business, not just generic devices that won’t work for everyone. These metrics relate to important areas such as:

An increase in high-quality clicks

By using advanced targeting, Microsoft Graph, and AI, you’ll reach the people that need your business, increasing high-quality clicks, and so boosting conversion, sales, and engagement.

More reach

Working with Microsoft means that you reach customers on MSN, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Edge, and other Bing Syndicated Partners.

Targeting with LinkedIn data

Utilise LinkedIn data to understand your customers’ interests and preferences, giving you incredibly accurate targeting based on their interests, industry, company, and job role.

Affulent demographic

Microsoft Ads generally have an older and more affluent demographic. The people using Microsoft over Google, have got money, and they are ready to spend it. So, why not let them spend it on your business?

Cheaper CPC

Advertising on Microsoft is significantly cheaper than Google, with a 30-50% lower cost for each advert. Microsoft also offers a 29% lower cost per sale, $0.49 average mobile CPC, lower than the industry average of $0.58, and a 35% higher conversion rate than the same CPC using Google.

Microsoft Audience ad types

Using the Microsoft Audience Network, you can create two types of responsive ad formats:

Image-based ads

Image-based ads are more engaging, especially if you use eye-popping images. Because the assets are compatible with different platforms, you can use them on Google Ads and Facebook Ads (and all three platforms are compatible with Adzooma!)

Feed-based ads

You can use Product Audiences for remarketing based on products they viewed or abandoned in their shopping carts. Promoting those products is known as dynamic remarketing.

How to create a Microsoft Audience ad

The good news is, if you have experience of any other ad platform, you should find setting up Microsoft Audience Ads a walk in the park. Microsoft ads are cost-effective and extremely easy to use, and as soon as you’ve set up your Microsoft Advertising account, you are ready to go.

Microsoft Audience Ads are displayed on Microsoft properties such as the Microsoft Edge browser, MSN, and Microsoft Outlook.

Note: At the time of writing, this Audience Ads are only available in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. If you’re advertising in any of these countries and wish to opt in, contact Microsoft Advertising customer support.

1. Select your goal

When you are ready to set up your first campaign, you’ll need to begin by selecting a goal for it. What do you want to achieve? This could be website traffic, increased sales or conversion, email subscriptions, calls to your business, or one of many other options. Different campaigns can have different goals, so don’t worry too much if you’ve got plenty that you’d like to achieve.

2. Select your audience

Once you’ve clicked on your goal, a pop-up will ask you to select your audience for that campaign. This could be a wide demographic, or a tighter niche, depending on your goal and the specific needs of your business. Again, each campaign can have a different audience.

3. Set your budget and campaign name

Next, it’s time to set your budget and name your campaign. Once these basics are out of the way, you can start to look at the targeting of your campaign. Spend time selecting the locations, age, gender, and even company, role, and job title using LinkedIn targeting.

4. Set your ad creatives

Then it’s time to look at the ad itself. First, add images via Image Extensions and test it on specific sized ads. You’ll have the option to crop and make changes if necessary. Once you are satisfied, you can add text and links. It’s wise to add a short title, content, and some information about your business.

5. Set your bid amount

When you are happy with your ad, you’ll move on to setting your desired bid for your audience ads. Microsoft will take this bid, as well as the daily budget that you set earlier to give you spend estimates for monthly clicks, impressions, and CPC averages. You can experiment by adjusting your budget and bids to suit the goals that you’d like to hit. Now all that’s left is to save and schedule. Simple.

It’s also worth doing the following to ensure maximum performance

  • Optimise your Audience Ads by adjusting your audience ads bids.
  • Optimise your audience targeting on search by using remarketing, In-market Audiences and Custom Audiences.
  • Use and update your UET tag.

Summary

The Microsoft Audience Network can be a great addition to your marketing campaigns. It’s a cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience without having to learn a whole host of new skills or commit too much of your precious time and our Microsoft advertising tool is here to help.

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Author
Will Haswell

With 10 years’ experience in paid search, Will is Adzooma's Head of Digitial Acquisition and has worked across multiple industries for brands including Dixons Carphone, Argos and Shop Direct Group. Having delivered both agency and client-side, his focus is on how automation and AI can enhance paid search performance.
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