Microsoft Advertising has announced Professional service ads, a new ad format designed for service providers such as insurance agents, realtors and so on. Professional service ads are currently available as a pilot in the U.S. and Canada.
Professional service ads can also be used to promote regional offices, branches or even national brands that provide relevant services. The format is available to comparison sites as well.
Why we care. This ad type may offer greater efficiency for service providers. In the early stages of this pilot, advertisers using Professional service ads were able to increase conversion rates by about 60% when compared to regular text ads, according to Microsoft. The average CPA decrease was 67% compared to overall performance in advertiser campaigns, the company said. But performance can vary, so it’s important to test the waters for yourself to see whether this is the right vehicle for your campaigns.
Some may see this as a competitor to Google’s Local Service Ads (LSAs) — while Product service ads may show for similar queries, there are some major differences to be aware of. For example, advertisers must be certified as “Google Guaranteed or “Google Screened” to participate in LSAs, which involves licensing, insurance and background checks. There is no such requirement for Microsoft’s Product service ads.
The format is new, but not really. Microsoft Advertising has been on a streak, releasing automated, vertical-specific ad types that leverage feed data to match offers to searches. The company now has ad formats for cruises, cars, tours and activities, credit cards and health insurance.
Like those other ad types, Professional service ads will appear in the right-hand rail of Bing search results, alongside mainline text ads.
Microsoft plans to expand on Professional service ads. “We’re expanding to tax services and new markets, but expect to see more professional services, both in and outside of the financial service industry, coming to Microsoft Advertising in the future,” the company wrote in the announcement.
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