Microsoft has been fast-following Google AdWords with new features in adCenter recently, so it’s not a huge surprise that some have spotted what look like Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in Bing Results. Mark Ballard from Rimm Kaufmann Group (RKG’s) posted of seeing such listings and, while we haven’t been able to replicate this, we did get confirmation from Microsoft that it’s testing this ad format.
“AdCenter is currently working on several ad product initiatives. Each initiative is at a different stage development and rollout stage,” a Microsoft spokesperson told me in a statement. “The ad treatment referenced in RKG’s blog post is from a prototype experimentation that aims to collect initial engagement data on ads with detailed product information.”
While Microsoft wouldn’t give us creative specs for the unit, it appears to be a small, square image that accompanies the headline, landing page URL and text in the ad. As of yet, there’s no product name.
Many marketers would likely be pleased by the introduction of such a unit at Microsoft Advertising/Bing since the Google PLAs have been very successful. RKG’s own recent research indicates that PLAs drove 15% of non-branded clicks on Google in the second quarter, but at a 23% lower CPC than comparable text ads.