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New Automotive Ads – What’s this new feature by Microsoft advertising all about?

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Digital Transformation

Microsoft has showcased through a case study that there is a high level of connect between paid ad searches and automotive sales – a 99% statistical corelation. It also conveyed that automotive brands receive more than double the clicks with paid ads as against relying on organic searches. Does it make sense from a business perspective? Yes, it does because every sale would more than make up for the cost of paid marketing spends. Automotive makers would factor a percentage of marketing cost into paid marketing spends so a positive co-relation to sales helps in multiple ways. Firstly, its great that the sales of their vehicles are enhanced. Secondly, it is great that their inventory is also turned around faster.

COVID-induced personal mobility augmentation

With COVID and the enhanced need for personal and safe mobility, automotive makers world over are seeing and will continue to witness a spike in demand for consumer vehicles. Sensing this opportunity, a new way for advertisers to display and promote automobiles to users and drive clicks in paid ads has emerged. Microsoft has introduced a beta version of their Automotive ads unit in the US and the UK.

Let’s understand what Automotive Ads are.

Remember when you searched for a ‘blue formal shirt’ or ‘Jimmy Choo’ footwear? Knowingly or unknowingly, you would have given a glimpse of your preference. These are called attributes in advertisers’ parlance.

If we extend this to cars or automobiles, then Automotive Ads are the ads which are delivered as per attributes of the vehicle searched. Automotive ads are feed based ads wherein attributes of the vehicle such as color, make etc. are uploaded via a feed and gets displayed to a user when the queries search for these attributes.

Automotive ads can also be used for native placements in the Microsoft audience network. How does this help?

The audience starts seeing the ads at various digital points in their regular customer journey. These builds recall for the ad and the product. And then, as the target audience searches more about the product through attributes, they get shown the automotive ads which ensures a click-through and they become part of the sales funnel with clear digital cookie-based retargeting and remarketing made possible.

How does the user or the target audience see these ads?

Currently, within the Bing’s Search Engine Result Pages, Microsoft Ads will deliver the advertisement on the right rail, so it gets prominent visibility to grab attention of the target audience.

The ads will also get displayed in the Bing Images result page. Soon, Microsoft will also deliver these advertisements under the search bar as well, further helping automobile makers and dealers to enhance RoI on paid ads.

What attributes does the feed require? How will it change Automotive search?

The feed will collate attributes such as Vehicle ID, Title, Make, Model, Year, Trim, Final URL, Image URL, State of Vehicle (New, Used) and the on-road price. While these could be great attributes impacting the purchase decision, attributes such as Fuel Type, Engine, Body style, Color of the interior and exterior etc. can make for interesting attributes and provide more customized results for search queries, thus enhancing the conversion from paid ads.

It will enhance the entire search experience for the user by providing the research in an easy-to-understand fashion as it would be centered around the very attributes that the user searched in the first place.

The Results

While the product by Microsoft is in Beta phase, the early pilots done with automotive brands advertising their new launches as well as with third-party websites which have put forward their used inventory has brought out some interesting results.

The results show a 6-15 percent increase in Click through rates on automotive ads and a 3-8 percent increase in conversions. OEMs (the makers of the cars) have also reported a considerable dip of around 7-16 percent in their cost per clicks (CPC) for these campaigns as compared to their non-brand targeted search campaigns.

Automotive Ads by Microsoft is an interesting proposition for carmakers around the world to leverage and encash the huge surge in demand for personal mobility. It is an apt mechanism to leverage digital journeys and convert target audiences with interest and intent into buyers of their cars.

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