Google's overhaul of AdWords for multi-device search, called Enhanced Campaigns, has "polarised" the search community, according to general manager of Microsoft Search Network David Pann.
He told The Drum that Microsoft is now developing its own equivalent to Google’s Enhanced Campaigns which will provide advertisers with the option of whether to combine mobile and desktop campaigns or to break them out separately - a vital differentiation.
The internet giant is aiming to launch the new service in beta in the next five months, with a full global rollout expected to follow in nine months’ time, according to Pann.
He said Google’s Enhanced Campaigns has "polarised" the search community due to the fact it merges desktop and tablet targeting options, a factor which has caused unease among agencies.
“For smaller advertisers that don’t distinguish between mobile, tablets and PCs Enhanced Campaigns may make sense. But for larger advertisers which understand that their messages must be different according to the device it will be harder and they will have to create workarounds,” he said.
Pann believes having the ability to break out campaigns according to each type of device is important due to the differences in behaviour across each. “The real estate on each device varies hugely as do the type of transactions – one size doesn’t fit all and trying to force an entire industry into a one size fits all will create more work for the advertisers. We will see if Google is forced to back pedal a bit on this,” he added.
“For example most people would be content to perhaps book a restaurant on a mobile device, but they wouldn’t feel as comfortable signing up for car insurance on a mobile device – and the big advertisers understand the difference. That’s why Microsoft’s version will provide the best of both – we will provide our own version of Enhanced Campaigns but advertisers will be able to choose if they want the more transparent option and split out by device,” he said.
Google overhauled AdWords to cater for multi-device search in February. The upgrade, called Enhanced Campaigns, is aimed at helping marketers hone paid-search targeting across multiple devices, while letting them adjust bids for ads according to device type, location and time of day.
Although agencies welcomed the ability to refine attribution and budget allocation made possible with Enhanced Campaigns, many have expressed concern that the upgrade merges tablet and desktop targeting options.
Microsoft has not yet determined the name of the new service, according to Pann.
He said since rebranding Microsoft’s ad platform AdCenter to Bing ads it has seen a 40 per cent year on year from 2012 to 2013 in new advertiser sign-ups. It has also introduced new ad formats across the Yahoo-Bing network including rich media in-search ads, site links, and local ad extensions.
Pann also said there are plans afoot to develop new ad formats that can integrate with all Microsoft’s platforms spanning Bing, Xbox and Windows 8 devices. “There will be a big push for this and we will see more develop here in the next six to 12 months.
Focus will be on ensuring it can serve consumers with contextually relevant ads on whichever device they are on, with what Pann described as a “new breed” of ad formats.
Pann also believes that the future of search lies beyond typing keywords and will instead be determined by voice control, and the context, action and geo-location of individuals.