As previously reported, Microsoft has some new ad products for the Yahoo Bing Network on the way this year. Notably, we should be seeing Bing product listing ads (similar to Google's) before the year's over.
Microsoft Search Network GM, David Pann, tells WebProNews that we will also see a new ad format in the form of "Click To Call" (also much like Google's offering). Bing's take on the ad format will be the result of a partnership with Skype (which, of course, Microsoft acquired in 2011).
The ad format will be available on mobile, tablets and PCs, and Skype's different types of calls "could be on the roadmap" he says.
Skype already has a click to call offering (pictured), but it doesn't actually show an ad for the business. "Instead when the Skype plug-in is installed in the users’ browser on a PC, and the business listing is appearing organically on any web page, then it allows the user to click on the listing on the webpage to call that business for free using Skype," explains Microsoft.
The click-to-call functionality for Bing Ads will show advertisers' ads in search ads when the user is searching for info that's relevant to the business or category. It will also offer call analytics functionality for search advertisers.
Bing appears to be paying attention to what is working with AdWords and trying to emulate, or improve upon it for the Bing Ads experience. Pann said of Bing's sitelinks format, that advertisers come over with the mentality of “It performs well over there [Google], so it will here too.” Surely, they're counting on a similar mentality with click to call and product listing ads (which have been paying off quite nicely for Google).
Pann says they'e adopted a philosophy of trying to do in 15 minutes for advertisers what AdWords can do in 45 minutes.
He also said we can expect Bing to launch Bing Ads Express within the first half of the year. It's currently in beta. This is aimed at smaller advertisers, and will essentially figure everything out for them in the matter of a couple clicks.
Pann says Microsoft has been launching new mobile capabilities for Bing Ads somewhere in the world every week, and at least once a month in the U.S.