As of this week, Bing Ads is now testing social extensions for U.S. advertisers, in a limited beta, according to an update on the company blog last Friday.

Bing ads social extensions help bridge the gap between paid search, which targets users on search engines, and social media. While search users are a highly valuable audience of their own, because their keyword searches indicate a high level of intent, social media is where engagement and conversations happen – so it makes sense to try to bridge the two.

The new ad extensions, according to Bing’s blog post, will make this happen by helping ads become “an extension of your social self.”

It’s worth noting that Google originally tested a similar feature, including Google +1’s as an optional social extension in AdWords, but dropped it last December.

What Are Bing Ads Social Extensions?

Social extensions in Bing ads appear directly under the primary ad copy, in the form of links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Tumblr. They can be added from within each Bing Ads account, either at the campaign or ad group level.

How Are Bing Ads Social Extensions Different?

What’s interesting about this new functionality is that expands the power of social extensions beyond linking just to a primary social account. In Google AdWords, for example, you can use extensions to link to your company’s Facebook page, but that’s somewhat limiting, since the top-level page won’t always be the most useful or relevant destination for a search user.

With Bing Ads social extensions, you can link directly to a conversation on social, by using a hashtag as the extension link. As you can see below, Bing’s example post does this for Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag “#BingNetwork,” while also linking to the brand’s primary Facebook page.

Bing Ads Social Extensions Example

 

While this feature is currently in beta, it’ll be interesting to see what happens as it’s gradually expanded to more advertisers. It seems that this is yet another example of major search advertisers trying to bridge the gap between search and social, which as far as we can tell is the future of digital advertising.

What do you think? Have you gotten to try out Bing Ads Social Extensions yet? We’d love to hear from you. Comment away below!

About Brendan Silk

Brendan Silk is the lead content strategist at Ethoseo and a regular contributor to the Ethoseo blog. In addition to blogging and copywriting, he's spent the past three years honing his SEO and inbound marketing skills, with an emphasis on link building and social media. In his spare time he can usually be found chasing cats, playing drums, or listening to Phish.You can find more posts by Brendan at his bio page on Ethoseo, or follow him on Google+.

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