Microsoft ending Content Network and Content Ads in the US, affects Bing Ads, Windows Media, and Windows Apps

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Today, Microsoft has announced that it will be sunsetting its Content Network and Content Ads (powered by Bing Ads) in the United States, having already ended it in other non-US markets. The Content Network allowed advertisers to display ads on Windows Media and Windows Apps,  somewhat similar to Google AdWords’ Display campaigns, albeit with much less reach.

The Content Network is being sunset due to “low traffic” and Microsoft wants to “deliver great ROI” for their Bing Ads advertisers.

In the announcement post, the Bing Ads team outlines the timeline for closing out the Content Network and associated Content Ads:

Through July 30th:

  • Bing Ads UI: Content ads creation as an option in the Bing Ads UI. After July 30th, we will stop the ability to create ad groups with a content distribution or update ad groups’ content distribution based information. In addition, customers will not see the content distribution option when creating or editing ad groups.
  • Bing Ads Editor: When syncing account changes, customers can try to create a search + content ad group, but it will be saved as a search ad group. If customers try to create a content only ad group or update content ads distribution information, an error will be shown. In later BAE versions, the option to make these changes will be removed completely.
  • API: When trying to add a new search + content ad group, it will save it as a search ad group. If you try to add a content ad group an error will be shown. If you try to update content ads based information an error will be shown.
  • Google Import: If you import a Search and Display campaign from AdWords, the ad group distribution will be changed to Search in Bing Ads. If you try to import a Display campaign from Adwords, it will not be imported, since Bing Ads does not have Display Advertising.

After July 30th:

  • Current search + content ad groups will automatically become search ad groups in the next few months. For the few customers who have content only ad groups, those will automatically become paused search ad groups.

Bing Ads’ search ads will continue to work as normal.