Did you know that your search ad on Microsoft Ads can potentially show on non-search placements? No? Me neither. Microsoft Audience Ads are ads that appear on the Microsoft Audience Network, which includes places like MSN, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Edge as seen below.

Placements for Microsoft Audience Network
From Microsoft Ads

There are two different ways in which you can have ads appear on the Audience Network, by using an Audience campaign or by extending Search campaigns with image ad extensions. This was surprising to me. By implementing image extensions that I thought would only show next to my ad on the SERP, it automatically started placing my ad on non-search placements. My client mentioned seeing one of these ads which led me to dig in to see where it was coming from. I knew we were strictly running search ads within Microsoft. The ad copy matched one of our ads, and the image being used was a logo that we had implemented as an image extension. After researching ways for Microsoft Ads to appear on the Microsoft Audience Network, I found out that by applying an image extension to our campaign, that our ads would automatically start showing as Audience Ads.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Microsoft Ads states that these ads will generate more search volume by showing within the Audience Network as well as receive high- quality clicks within brand-safe placements. It is definitely worth exploring to see if these placements generate a reasonable ROI or if you are wasting money.

For this particular client, you can see much lower click-through-rate and conversion rate metrics for the Audience Network.

Data from campaign's performance on microsoft advertising audience network

To see these metrics within your own campaigns, you can choose to segment by network while viewing all campaigns or ad groups, as seen below.

how to segment by network to see results microsoft advertising

One downside these ads is the inability to preview it, especially if you have a client who wishes to see and approve image ads. You also need to make sure that your image extension associated with your campaigns or ad groups are high-quality and make sense showing with any ad.

If you do not wish to have your search ads be automatically extended to the Audience Network, you must disable them from either your campaigns or your ad groups.

To Disable Audience Ads:

You can either do this at the campaign level or the ad group level. To disable at the campaign level, go to Campaigns > select the campaign you wish to change > Settings > Advanced campaign settings > Other settings > Audience Ads. Decrease your bid by 100%.

how to disable audience network by using a bidding adjustment microsoft advertising

To disable at the ad group level, follow the same steps but under ad groups.

There you have it! If you have a search campaign running in Microsoft Ads that also has image extensions applied, you may want to see how it is performing within the Audience Network as it will automatically be placed there to determine your next steps.