Microsoft Details How Advertising Works on Bing’s AI-Driven Chat-Based Search

Amid frenzied conversations about how artificial intelligence is upending media and advertising, Microsoft is finally giving marketers a peak into how integrating ChatGPT into Microsoft’s Bing search engine will change its ads business.

The answer is, to start, not a lot.

The process of buying advertising on Bing is no different now than it has been earlier in Bing’s 14-year existence. The one differentiator is that now ads can appear within peoples’ conversations’ with an AI chatbot. Marketers will not need to specify that they want their ads in the chat format, nor will they know whether their ads appeared in the chat format when they receive performance reports, corporate vice president of Microsoft Advertising Kya Sainsbury-Carter told a room of reporters this week.

“Advertisers, from what we hear, don’t want to be disrupted right now. Marketers are tired; they have less resources. They’ve had a crazy three years of pandemic and war and economy,” Sainsbury-Carter said. “People aren’t really looking for wild disruption, but rather an evolution and transformation that helps move their businesses forward.”

While marketers appreciate Microsoft’s approach, and are encouraged by its investments in AI, questions remain, such as how to judge success when it’s unclear whether ads show up in the chat.

When the AI chatbot comes up with an answer, a citation is included which is accessible by hovering over the answer. Among the links included in the citation might be an ad. Photo ads can appear at the end of a chatbot’s answer.

Brands don’t need to write new copy that mimics the form of a chatbot answer. Instead, all text ads and other creative assets uploaded into Bing will appear in the new chat formats. Sainsbury-Carter told Adweek, in a separate conversation, that Microsoft doesn’t want to disrupt advertisers’ workflows before they know it works.

“We didn’t want to say there might be a difference so do double the work,” she said.

An example of Microsoft’s ad formats in AI-based search Bing Microsoft

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