If you’re an automotive dealer looking to increase sales and drive quality clicks to your website, then Microsoft Automotive Ads might be just what you need. This unique product allows you to upload your dealership’s inventory and showcase it on the Microsoft Bing.com search engine, Bing image results page, and other native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network.
Read on to take a closer look at Microsoft Bing’s Automotive Ads, its benefits, and why you should consider adding Bing ads to your marketing plan.
What are Microsoft Automotive Ads, and What Do They Look Like?
Automotive Ads are feed-based product ads that allow you to upload all the attributes of your car inventory, including make, model, year, trim, image, and URLs. They showcase your inventory on Bing’s SERP (right rail/mainline), the Bing image results page, MSN Cars for Sale, and native placements on the Microsoft Audience Network.
Automotive Ads are triggered for vehicle research and purchase intent queries; extensive keyword research is not required when setting these up in Microsoft Ads Manager. The offerings from your feed are automatically matched to queries based upon the vehicle details within your inventory, and they serve alongside existing text ads with a separate auction so that you won’t bid against yourself for positioning.
Benefits of Using Microsoft Automotive Ads
Automotive Ads offer several benefits for automotive dealers.
- They help you reach new car shoppers closer to making a purchase and are in the comparison and transaction stages of their decision journey.
- They allow you to showcase your vehicle photos, prices, and other information to help increase your click-through rate (CTR) and qualified leads.
- They use automation to save time by using feeds with keyword-less campaigns to generate your ads faster and more up-to-date as inventory and prices change.
- Bing’s Automotive Ads have been shown to have lower CPCs compared to non-brand targeted text ads.
Microsoft Advertising Before Automotive Ads
Before the recent release of Microsoft Automotive Ads, auto dealerships could not use feeds for their advertising campaigns. A feed is another way of saying a content stream that allows users to scroll through.
Feeds have always been a popular way for automotive search marketers to promote and highlight cars on sites like Cars.com, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. Unfortunately, feeds were not possible on Bing.
Advertising on Bing in the not-so-distant past involved several steps after creating a Microsoft Advertising account:
Create a campaign by selecting goals, target audiences, and budget
Choose ad formats: text ads, image ads, video ads, etc.
Select make and model-specific keywords that guide the ads
Set budget: deciding how much to bid on the selected keywords
Microsoft Automotive Ads change this process by eliminating the need for keywords and using feeds to display information and pictures about your inventory. Microsoft Automotive Ads are dynamically assembled from data within the feed itself, and the data that Bing uses to target your ads comes from the inventory feeds.
The process is exceedingly more straightforward for marketers, and the average cost-per-click (CPC) can be up to 32.5% lower when compared to Google’s AdWords for automotive industry ads.
Automotive Ads Feed Setup
Traditionally, getting the most from Microsoft Automotive Ads requires the proper configuration of your inventory feed. A good feed is critical for getting your inventory in front of buyers. The feed should include the following:
- Vehicle ID
- Image URLs
- State of vehicle (new/used/CPO),
Extra information, such as body style, engine, drivetrain, transmission, fuel type, interior color, and exterior color.
On top of providing the necessary details about your inventory, Microsoft Automotive Ads work best with high-quality and relevant images that show a zoomed exterior view of the vehicle.
The final step involves setting up bids and budgets, including a daily budget for your ads. Microsoft currently suggests a daily budget of $50 to $500 to get started; however, success has been seen with budgets significantly lower than that with just $15 a day.
Automating the Inventory Feed Process for Microsoft Automotive Ads
At Dealer Authority, we’re always looking for ways to help our clients save time and money while also helping to increase their sales. That’s why we’re excited to test out a new inventory scraping tool that pulls vehicle details directly off your website, reducing the need to create an inventory feed from scratch. The tool updates automatically every day, meaning there is no need to make manual adjustments.
Cost Per Click
Google Universal Analytics
% New Sessions
Test Driving Automotive Inventory Ads on Bing
Our test budget for the five rooftops is $400 per store a month, about a third of the recommended minimum Google Vehicle Listing Ads budget. After a rigorous 90-day test, the results are in!
In the beginning, we saw CPCs as low as $0.55/click, with healthy traffic performance metrics such as time on site ranging from 1.5 to 7 minutes and bounce rates hovering between 20 to 45%.
While the CPC did rise, the average CPC over the 90-day test remained under a dollar at $0.75 a click.
Reach New Shoppers Where They’re Searching
The most telling data point we came across was the percentage of New Sessions for each dealership. On average, we saw 90.85% New Sessions, indicating that our dealers were tapping into a completely new market on this platform.
Each dealership was able to engage with over 1000 new users a month that couldn’t be found anywhere else during this 90-Day Microsoft AIA test.
The opportunities that Microsoft Automotive Inventory Ads provide for automotive dealerships and vendors are significant. Using Microsoft AIAs allows us to help dealers reach new car shoppers who are closer to making a purchase and, more specifically, presenting dealer inventory right where they’re searching.
The automation and ease of use with feeds save dealerships valuable time and resources, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business. The ability to use feeds with keyword-less campaigns to generate ads faster and the ability to break into this advertising arena with an affordable budget makes this a low-risk, high-reward ad platform for dealers looking to expand their market share. Coupled with the fact that AIAs are relatively new on the scene, dealers who are on the bleeding edge of automotive advertising trends won’t have to face high competition in their local markets.
With Microsoft Bing’s Automotive Ads and Dealer Authority’s innovative approach, dealerships can showcase their inventory in a richer, more engaging way, resulting in better click-through rates, more qualified leads, and ultimately more sales.