Microsoft Introduces Bing Ad Targeting in Windows 8.1 Smart Search
Even though the preview launch of Windows 8.1 happened last week, Microsoft has continued its update tend, as Bing Ads will be integrated into the Windows 8.1 Smart Search.

A Little Less Privacy, a Little More Targeted Advertising

Most of the time, advertisers tend to target ads at customers through the internet with search results and social media activity, but Windows 8.1 is moving beyond this browser-based model of customer targeting.

With the Windows 8.1 Smart Search users will not only be able to search for information across the web, their device, apps and the cloud in what Microsoft is calling a “modern search experience,” but now these users can also be targeted by advertisers based on search keywords.

With a single campaign setup, advertisers can connect with consumers across Bing, Yahoo! and the new Windows Search with highly relevant ads for their search queries,” wrote David Pann, General Manager, Microsoft Advertising Search Group.

Along with this, Bing Ads will also be able to provide website previews and other relevant information. For example, if someone was to search “AAA,” they would not only find the company’s website, but could also be referred to the travel services or travel options webpages and the nearest AAA office.

Pann also notes that advertisers who already use the the Yahoo! Bing Network won't have to sign up for the program as their ads will automatically be added to Smart Search.

It’s Modern, But is it Accepted?

With the addition of ads in the the Windows 8.1 search Microsoft and Bing want to improve the search experience, a decision that Mark Hanchman says would evidently also improve Bing’s standing against its competitor: Google.

Microsoft has lagged well behind Google in search, however, and the company’s online business has consistently lost money,” he wrote. “Placing ads within millions of PCs would help offset that.”

Others mentioned that this move might be considered an invasion of privacy, which could turn some users away from the feature.

Advertisers no doubt will take advantage of this opportunity, but it will be interesting to see how users respond to ads showing up in response to data collected from activities beyond their own Web searches–activities that to date have at least seemed more private," wrote Robert Hof.

This being the first significant update to Bing Ads in 2013 it remains to be seen how well it is received in the coming months. The most recent updates to the Bing Ads platform happened after its launch last September with location targeting and usability updates.