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  • Writer's pictureRan Nir

Multimedia Ads vs Responsive Ads: Our Microsoft Ads Test Results

Updated: Jul 1, 2023


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Microsoft Advertising serves as a robust platform that empowers businesses to access a vast pool of potential customers across Bing, Yahoo, and a network of partner sites. To enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns, incorporating Multimedia Ads represents a strategic approach. This versatile ad format enables you to seamlessly integrate captivating images, engaging videos, and other multimedia elements into your advertisements, thereby capturing the attention of your target audience and fostering deeper engagement. By leveraging the power of Multimedia Ads, businesses can unlock new dimensions of creativity and interactivity, elevating their advertising initiatives to unprecedented levels of impact and success.


At Conversion Counts, we ran an extensive test of Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads in a Microsoft Ads account that included 50+ campaigns, 300+ ad groups and 2500+ keywords. In this test, we compared the performance of Multimedia Ads against Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads and concluded that while Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads had a higher click-through rate (CTR), Multimedia Ads had a lower cost per acquisition (CPA) and a lower cost per click (CPC). The client in question is the leader in its vertical with an extensive product range resulting in over 800,000 ad impressions in Microsoft Advertising in a 30 days period making our finding significant.


Based on our findings, Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads demonstrated a Click-Through Rate (CTR) of 1.39% in contrast to 4.83% for Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads. It is important to note that Multimedia Ads garnered fewer clicks than Responsive Search Ads, indicating that they may not be as effective in driving high-volume clicks. However, it is crucial to consider other key metrics as well. Multimedia Ads exhibited a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) of £17.03, while Responsive Search Ads recorded a CPA of £29.01. Additionally, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for Multimedia Ads stood at £0.95 compared to £1.36 for Responsive Search Ads. These metrics indicate that while Multimedia Ads may yield lower click volumes, they offer a more cost-effective option in terms of CPA and CPC.

It is vital for advertisers to weigh the trade-off between click volume and cost-effectiveness when determining the suitability of Multimedia Ads within their overall advertising strategy. While Multimedia Ads may not drive significant click volumes, they can deliver favorable results in terms of acquisition costs, providing businesses with a more efficient means of generating conversions within their allocated budget. By considering these factors, advertisers can make informed decisions regarding the inclusion of Multimedia Ads in their advertising campaigns, aligning their strategies with specific objectives and budgetary considerations.

Although Multimedia Ads may not possess the same level of click-driving efficacy as Responsive Search Ads, they present several notable advantages that can effectively support businesses in attaining their advertising objectives. Notably, Multimedia Ads have the potential to be highly engaging and visually captivating, surpassing the impact of text-based ads. This inherent quality allows businesses to distinguish themselves from competitors and capture the attention of their intended audience. By integrating images or videos into their ads, businesses can present their products or services in a dynamic and compelling manner, showcasing their offerings in a manner that evokes greater interest and resonance. The incorporation of multimedia elements within ads enhances the overall appeal and entices users to explore the advertised offerings further, potentially leading to heightened engagement, conversions, and brand affinity.


In addition to being visually appealing, Multimedia Ads can also be more effective at driving brand awareness and consideration. By using multimedia elements to tell a story or highlight the unique features of their products or services, businesses can create ads that resonate with their target audience using Microsoft Ads and help build brand loyalty over time.


Another advantage of Multimedia Ads is that they allow businesses to reach customers at different stages of the customer journey. While Responsive Search Ads are typically used to target customers who are actively searching for a particular product or service, Multimedia Ads can be used to target customers who may not be actively searching but are still interested in a particular topic or product category. By using Multimedia Ads to target these customers, businesses can increase their reach and drive more traffic to their website.


Based on these findings, we recommend that businesses use Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads alongside Responsive Search Ads to gain more visibility on the search results page. By combining these two ad formats, businesses can leverage the strengths of each to achieve their advertising goals. For example, they can use Responsive Search Ads to target customers who are actively searching for their products or services, while using Multimedia Ads to build brand awareness and consideration among a wider audience.


It's also important to note that during our test, both ad types had complete ad assets in terms of headlines, descriptions and images to ensure an accurate comparison. This ensures that both ad formats have an equal opportunity to perform well and provide businesses with valuable insights into the effectiveness of their Microsoft Advertising campaigns.


When creating Multimedia Ads, businesses should keep in mind some best practices to ensure that their ads are as effective as possible. For example, they should use high-quality images or videos that are relevant to their target audience and that showcase their products or services in the best possible light. They should also include clear and concise messaging that highlights the unique benefits of their products or services.


In summary, Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads offer brands a compelling avenue to distinguish themselves from competitors and captivate potential customers through immersive and visually engaging experiences. By leveraging this advertising format, businesses can effectively communicate their unique value proposition, enhance brand differentiation, and foster deeper connections with their target audience. The visually captivating nature of Multimedia Ads enables brands to leave a lasting impression, ultimately contributing to increased engagement, conversions, and overall marketing success. While Conversion Counts’ testing showed that they do not perform as well as Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads in terms of CTR and clicks, they do offer a lower CPA and CPC, making them a cost-effective addition to any digital marketing campaign.


It is important to note that Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads should not be used as the sole ad type in any campaign. Instead, they should run alongside Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads to gain more visibility on the search results page. This allows brands to leverage the strengths of both ad types to create a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy.


To optimise the effectiveness of Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads, it is crucial to prioritise the utilisation of high-quality images and videos that effectively captivate the attention of potential customers. These visual elements should align seamlessly with the ad's messaging, ensuring a coherent and impactful representation of the brand's unique value proposition. By selecting images and videos that are both relevant and compelling, businesses can engage their target audience, heighten interest, and reinforce their brand's distinct offerings in a visually appealing manner.


Finally, it is important to continually monitor and analyse the performance of Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads in order to optimise their effectiveness over time. By tracking metrics such as CTR, CPA and CPC, brands can identify areas of opportunity and make strategic adjustments to their campaigns to drive better results. Note that Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads seem to have a far lengthier approval processes, we often observed Multimedia Ads taken up to 5 days to get approved vs. the 1 day or so for the Responsive Search Ads therefore, Multimedia Ads editing should be done when absolutely necessary to avoid long downtime.


In summary, Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads offer brands a powerful opportunity to engage with potential customers in a more visual and immersive way. While they may not perform as well as Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads in terms of clicks and CTR, they offer a lower CPA and CPC, making them a cost-effective addition to any digital marketing campaign. By using Microsoft Ads Multimedia Ads alongside Microsoft Ads Responsive Search Ads and optimising their ad assets over time, brands can create a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy that delivers strong results.


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