Microsoft Ads previews cleaner, more efficient interface design
By Dylan Lepak
Last week, Microsoft announced the preview of its Microsoft Advertising interface redesign. The new update aims to make creating campaigns and viewing campaign results easier and more user-friendly.
This redesign comes a year after the Google AdWords "experience" redesign campaign became the de facto interface for Adwords. And, like its competitor's redesign, this new facelift brings along a few fancy new functionalities.
Leading with momentum
When Microsoft changed the name of Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising in April, it led with the statement "Momentum is a powerful thing." Microsoft wanted to make it clear that it wasn't just rebranding the name — it was changing the experience.
That momentum brought a slew of new updates to Microsoft Advertising in the first half of 2019 — including AI-powered insertions, better campaign tools, new integrations, and a beefed-up selection of metrics.
But, despite Microsoft's push towards a new-and-improved Microsoft Ads, it's far from putting a serious dent in Google AdWords. And that doesn't seem to be the long-term goals anyway. Over the past two years, Microsoft has made importing campaigns between AdWords and Microsoft Ads incredibly easy. Their notion has shifted from "9 Ways Bing Ads Beats Google Ads" to "The Art and Science of Google Import."
Microsoft is more than willing to be the other basket you shove some of your eggs into.
In line with this thinking, Microsoft's new redesign is obviously Google-inspired. Not only does this new update mimic many of the interfaces already available in post-2018 AdWords, but Microsoft is unbelievably upfront about it.
In the official update announcement, Microsoft said, "you may find that the redesigned Microsoft Advertising feels familiar to other Microsoft products as well as other advertising platforms."
Meet the Microsoft Advertising redesign
The redesign applies very modern interface principles (i.e., bold menus, subtle colors, and minimal clutter) to the Microsoft Advertising UI.
For starters, designers added a new global menu bar to the top of every page. The menu bar lets you switch accounts, preview campaigns, import AdWords campaigns, and access other heavily-used functions. Of course, this new global menu pushes the previous "main menu" to the far left — which is now a little less clunky to click through.
An Accounts tab was also added — replacing the previous Accounts & Billing tab — which lets you manage all of your account settings in one pane. Currently, the Accounts tab has four subpages (i.e. Management, Notifications, Performance, and Requests.)
Finally, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Ads is now a member of Microsoft Fluent — which is a "design language" that spans across multiple Microsoft entities. It's easiest to think of Fluent as the blueprint for modern Microsoft product design.
Microsoft products that are part of the Fluent family all have a similar feel, with unified font archetypes, a certain amount of spacing between each element, and a particular color scheme. This makes all of these products feel modern, sleek, and very Microsoft-y.
Of course, let's address the elephant in the room again. Yes! This looks a lot like AdWords. And it's supposed to. Microsoft is fully aware that it isn't the marketing world's #1 choice. But, by making Microsoft Advertising similar to the AdWords interface, it's reducing marketing frictions for those that are trying to run campaigns across both platforms.
What does this mean for marketers?
We've gone into detail about the power of Microsoft Advertising in the past. And we fully believe that most marketers should be eying the Bing/Yahoo/Verizon ecosystem as a serious option for campaign diversity. Bing typically has lower bids and more flexibility than AdWords, and Microsoft Advertising is giving marketers useful tools and a surprisingly high ROI.
In fact, Bing has grown over 100 consecutive quarters — giving it a surprising 33% of the search engine market. There's a wealth of opportunity for marketers looking to stake their claim with Microsoft Ads and create engaging and original campaigns. WordStream and Search Engine Watch claim that Microsoft Ads offers higher B2B ROI than Google AdWords — while the latter barely edges it out in B2C.
But, for the time being, Google AdWords is still likely your go-to hub for search campaigns. Microsoft is making it easier for you to use BOTH AdWords and Microsoft Advertising by making the look and feel of both systems similar. This isn't about using one or the other; it's about diversifying your ad portfolio.
Overall, that's a smart strategy by Microsoft. So far, Google's advertising growth has slowed this year. And that's in part thanks to Microsoft — who now has 6.5% search advertising share (behind Amazon and Google.)
Where can marketers check out the new interface?
To access the new redesign, you can either contact your Microsoft Advertising account manager or fill out a survey here. Once you do, Microsoft will unlock the new interface in your account within 7 – 14 days. Currently, you'll still have access to both interfaces (old and new) once you make the switch.
As of this moment, everyone is invited to fill out the survey and check out the redesign for themselves. And, we highly recommend that you do. If this is anything like the AdWords update, you'll be forced to immerse yourself in it sooner or later.
Wondering where to begin?