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Maximizing the power of search intent with Microsoft Advertising

February 02, 2023
A woman seen using her card to buy items online.

Search is a huge part of peoples’ lives on the devices, apps, and sites they use every day. It is one of the most valuable behaviors for marketers because it’s a direct expression of users' needs. You’re able to meet your customers in the right moments, as they’re explicitly looking for your business or offerings. Search intent is powerful not just in the moment of a query—but in all the moments that matter when your customer is closest to making their decision.

With increasing pressure to do more with less, savvy marketers can tap into the power of search intent and use it to enhance overall performance across channels. Fueled by the rich intent data from search, the Microsoft Audience Network provides an effective way for you to connect to potential customers with intent and reach them across the web. With powerful signals—which include search and web activity—you can deliver highly relevant messages to an audience who is ready to convert.

When you come to Microsoft Advertising, you can leverage both the Microsoft Search Network and the Microsoft Audience Network. Together, these two networks reach more than a billion people delivering strong return on investment (ROI) through artificial intelligence (AI) and rich first-party data. Now, we’re making it even easier for you to find your best customers wherever they are and meet them in the moments that matter.

The Microsoft Search and Audience Networks are better together

We’ve conducted studies across accounts that are running search and audience traffic to understand the incremental value for advertisers. We found that advertisers maximize performance and drive lift when combining their Microsoft Search and Audience Network efforts.

Those who’ve seen a brand’s ad on both networks visit the site 2.6x times more than those who are only exposed to an ad on search. Not only do those users visit the brand’s website more, we’ve found that they also convert more—specifically, 6.6x times more.1

The major takeaway here is that search and audience should work together and not in siloes. Reaching the same user across channels can lead to increased user engagement and sales.

View of search and audience ads showing a 2.6x increase in visitation rates and a 6.6x increase in conversion rates.

Updates to how you manage your multi-channel strategy

Many advertisers are already taking advantage of this updated multi-channel approach, and it will be available for all advertisers by February 21. Moving forward, you will no longer see the audience ad bid modifier in your campaign settings. Instead of using positive or negative bid modifiers to manually adjust participation in the audience network, all you need to do is define your goals, and Microsoft Advertising will fully optimize your campaigns across channels. This will help you more easily manage your campaigns and find the best users in every auction to drive a strong ROI.

We’ve been piloting over the past year, and after strong beta results, we’re rolling out this experience to all advertisers. Our results show that accounts already using multi-channel management have seen 14% higher conversion rates at 21% lower cost per acquisition (CPA).2

Setting you up for success

There's nothing you need to do to prepare for these updates—but, when you give us the right signals and setup for a strong foundation, it makes our tech smarter in delivering on the business outcomes you want. As you already do with your search campaigns, you can continue to optimize with these key levers:

  1. Tracking: Adopt Universal Event Tracking (UET) and create conversion goals to inform the system with powerful signals and unlock additional options for automated bid strategies.
  2. Goals: Choose the right automated bid strategies to achieve your business objectives and ensure your performance targets are set to the desired level. We’ll do the rest, optimizing performance to meet the goals you define.
  3. Assets: Add image extensions and choose from existing uploaded/imported images, free stock images, or pull images directly from your website.
  4. Targeting: Check your targeting settings and make sure you give space for discovery.
  5. Placements: Continue to access transparent reporting on delivery to see which sites you are serving on and use website exclusions to optimize performance across the Microsoft Search and Audience Networks.

Consumer behavior is more dynamic than ever. Your customers are seamlessly moving between online experiences as they’re searching the web, emailing, shopping online, working, and checking the news. Leveraging the power of both the Microsoft Search and Audience Networks, you can tap into powerful signals to reach your audience when they’re closest to making their decisions, in all the moments that matter.

We’re excited for all advertisers to benefit from real-time auction signals that optimize your goals and drive performance across channels. If you have questions or need any assistance, contact our support team or your Microsoft Advertising account team.

Help us improve Microsoft Advertising

Your comments and feedback are integral to shape and improve our product. You can use the Microsoft Advertising Feedback portal, in-product feedback, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email us at or contact Support.

[1] Microsoft internal data, December 2022.
[2] Microsoft internal data, January 2023. Performance of customers in multi-channel management beta vs marketplace.


  • Mallory Harwood


    Mallory Harwood

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