Microsoft Starts Running Ads in Its New AI-Powered Bing Chat

Microsoft Starts Running Ads in Its New AI-Powered Bing Chat

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office Microsoft Starts Running Ads in Its New AI-Powered Bing Chat

Just a couple of weeks after Microsoft removed the waitlist for its AI-powered Bing Chat feature, the chatbot has started displaying paid ads through sponsored results. The Tech Giant confirmed that it’s indeed running ads on Bing Chat, though only experimentally. For now, the ads seem to be appearing only to some users, which indicates they haven’t been rolled out on a large scale yet.

The new Bing Chat ads are much more subtle and subversive than regular search engine ads.

Microsoft had already revealed its plans to introduce ads on its GPT-4 powered search engine chatbot in February. The company held meetings with major ad agencies, demonstrating how they plan to incorporate paid links among search results.

Just like conventional paid search results, the ad model introduced in Bing Chat works by adding paid links among the responses to search queries. However, unlike the former, the ads aren’t restricted within predictable labeled locations on the page. These sponsored results are instead integrated naturally into the chatbot’s responses but are clearly labeled as ads.

Microsoft exploring additional advertising capabilities

Microsoft, on Tuesday, published a blog confirming the experimental running of paid search advertising on its AI-powered Bing chatbot. The Big Tech company further added that it’s exploring additional advertising capabilities for publishers, including the 7,500 odd Microsoft Start partners.

We recently met with some of our partners to begin exploring ideas and to get feedback on how we can continue to distribute content in a way that is meaningful in traffic and revenue for our partners.Microsoft Blog Post

The tech giant also shared some of the early ideas they are exploring in this regard. These include an expanded hover experience that would display multiple links from the publisher if a user hovers over a paid link. Multiple links would allow the users to engage with the advertisement in more ways and ultimately drive more traffic to the publisher’s website.

The placement of ads in the chat experience is being explored too. Microsoft revealed that it plans to share ad revenues with partners when their content contributes to the chat responses.

For our Microsoft Start partners, placing a rich caption of Microsoft Start licensed content beside the chat answer helping to drive more user engagement with the content on Microsoft Start where we share the ad revenue with the partner.Microsoft Blog Post

Bing search ads: The good, the bad, and what to expect

The introduction of Bing chat ads naturally led to speculations over how search advertising might evolve in the near future. There are mixed opinions regarding the new model of advertising too.

On one hand, search engines ultimately need to be monetized one way or the other, and advertising is the most logical option. However, users expecting AI-powered search engines to revolutionize search might find the sponsored answers a bit disappointing.

The subtility of the Bing Chat ads might make them less irritating than traditional ads since they’d be harder to notice and won’t grab as much attention.

At the same time, users won’t be able to ignore them as easily. Concerns that Bing might be getting paid by advertisers to influence the chatbot’s answers might become a cause of mistrust too.

The future of Bing Chat ads and advertising through AI-powered chatbots remains a topic of contemplation. Hopefully, the Big Tech companies will find ways to incorporate ads without causing users to lose trust in chatbot-generated responses.

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