Why This Matters to You: Bing Microsoft Multimedia Ads

By Ryan Norman| 7 Min Read | July 9, 2021
Multimedia Advertising on Bing | Microsoft Advertising with Multimedia | Microsoft Advertising Example

This post is for the savvy digital marketer who wants to get ahead of the game on Bing’s latest advertising innovation. Microsoft Bing just launched a new ad type: Multimedia Ads. Read on for insights from the marketing experts at Direct Online Marketing. We pick apart Bing’s announcement and tell you what it means for your digital marketing efforts.

What’s Happening

Bing multimedia ads are big and dynamic. They take up a lot of real estate on SERPs (often spanning the whole search column). And Bing multimedia ads are dynamic ads. They rotate multiple images, headlines, and descriptions, with machine learning working in the background to optimize performance.

Why This Matters to You

Visuals tend to grab our attention more forcefully than text. So any innovation in visual ad types is something you should try.

Broadly speaking, Bing’s multimedia ads are familiar to us at DOM; we’ve been using Google dynamic display ads for years. Google’s dynamic display ads already provide the functionality of rotating multiple images, headlines, and descriptions (however, this ad type appears only on the Google display network).

What is different about Bing’s multimedia ads is that they are image ads that appear within search results (not within a display network). The closest equivalent of Bing’s multimedia ads in Google would be the recently launched image extensions that can accompany Google search ads.

What’s Happening

Here are some details about how ads will appear to searchers. Bing multimedia ads may appear at the top of SERPs (mainline, as Bing calls this positioning) and/or along the right rail.

  • Mainline

The ads will appear in a rectangular layout that spans the width of the main search results area.

[a Bing multimedia ads - mainline appearance

  • Mainline with Sitelinks

Sitelinks may also appear with mainline multimedia ads.

  • Right Rail

Multimedia ads may also appear in a square layout in a column to the right of the main search results area.

Why This Matters to You

Combining multimedia ads with sitelinks to cover even more ad space is a no-brainer. Building robust sitelinks is a best practice at DOM. As part of our onboarding, we review client’s sitelinks and recommend optimizations. So make sure you’ve built out all relevant sitelinks before launching Bing multimedia ads. That way your ad will cover even more space on a SERP.

The jury is still out about the right rail positioning of Bing multimedia ads. When you search, your eyes are trained to look for results in the search column; any text or images appearing outside this area might just be ignored. Of course, maybe presenting searchers with images in a new context will break old habits and get your ad noticed. Time will tell.

Why should a CMO care about Bing Microsoft Multimedia Ads?


digital advertising manager

“It’s not often that Microsoft does something this innovative with their ads. The ad examples that Microsoft gives are much different than anything we’ve seen in any type of search ad before. This could be a reason for companies to give Microsoft Ads a try, or for current advertisers to expand budgets.”

Leland Reed, Digital Advertising Department Manager


What’s Happening

Mainline multimedia ads are exclusive (only 1 per SERP). To make this new ad type stand out, Bing will display just one multimedia ad at the top of a search results page.

Why This Matters to You

Being the sole ad on page 1 is potent. Of the new features of Bing multimedia ads, this has us most excited. There is potential to stand out in a new way, with an ad that is the only thing of its kind on a search results page.

(Google lets you aim to have your search ad appear first [among others, usually 3–5] on a SERP. But to have your ad appear as the sole ad of its type? No.)

What’s Happening

Within the announcement about the rollout of multimedia ads, Bing also urges advertisers to take advantage of automated recommendations.

(Bing, like Google, recommends things you can do to optimize performance; these recommendations are presented within a dedicated tab in the user interface. The ability to allow or prohibit Bing from automatically applying selected recommendations has been in place for a few months.)

Why This Matters to You

Allowing an ad platform to make changes automatically can be a big help when the situation is right. For instance, permitting a platform to create responsive search ads (from the text that you’ve carefully crafted in your expanded text ads) can save hours of manual changes.

However, Google and Bing are blackboxes enough as it is. There is precious little you can learn about what is going on behind the scenes of the search algorithms that are working to put your ads in front of eager customers.

And recommendations that might be automatically applied are wide-ranging. Raising budgets, changing bid strategies, adding and removing keywords—these are some of the recommendations that Google and Bing offer to auto-apply for you.

This is one you might want to think about for a bit before jump in (before opting in to automatically recommendations, that is). If you do decide to opt in, understand that you are giving up some control.

To put it bluntly, this feels a little tacked on. Bing mentioning their auto-apply recommendation functionality (within an announcement on a new ad type) comes across to us a reminder from Bing that there is this feature that Bing would like you to opt into. The more people who opt in, the more data Bing can gather and train their algorithm on.

What’s Happening

Bing multimedia ads have a +40% bid modifier applied to them by default. Bing says this positive bid adjustment will help multimedia ads get more traffic without affecting other campaigns.

Why This Matters to You

Bing is stacking the deck here. Bing is rolling out a new ad type, which they presumably want to be successful (and perhaps more successful than current ad types), and so they’re loading in a bid adjustment to tip the scales in that direction.

Testing is the answer. If you try Bing multimedia ads, run an A/B test of the +40% bid modifier against no bid modifier. That way, you can evaluate in your unique marketing situation whether the default modifier is warranted.

Now as for Bing stating that the +40% bid modifier will help this new ad type get more traffic without affecting other campaigns—the logic just doesn’t follow here. By applying a bid modifier to one kind of ad, there is now less budget for other ads. There’s no getting around that. With less budget going to other corners of your campaigns, a downturn in performance in those other corners is likely.


  • Mainline multimedia ads are exclusive (only 1 per SERP)—this is a great opportunity to set yourself apart on Bing.
  • Multimedia ads show images in search results, which allows you to visually entice users in an otherwise text-heavy environment.
  • Beware of the +40% bid modifier (as well as automatically applied recommendation)—test the bid modifier (and only very selectively opt in to any auto-apply recommendations).

If you’d like our perspective on your digital marketing efforts, contact us for a free consultation.

Check out these blogs for more advice about Bing and Google Ads:

To get more information on this topic, contact us today for a free consultation or learn more about our status as a Google Partner before you reach out.

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