Microsoft will launch a pilot this month to test new paid search ad formats using logos and favicons embedded in listings. The icons expand on the traditional two simple text lines and link. The formats are intended to make ads pop in search results and to encourage advertisers and media buyers to allocate more paid search campaign dollars to Bing.

James Colborn, director at Microsoft Advertising and long-time adCenter veteran, believes the market is ready to experiment with more creative options. These options stray from standard text ads in search. Consumers next year will start to see a richer ad experience in search results, he says.

Microsoft has seen a rise in query share, and a nearly 40% increase in click-through rates, according to Colborn. Still, getting consumers to switch their favorite search engine, such as Google or Bing, has been a challenge. Microsoft executives are the first to admit that more searches on Bing will increase the amount advertisers and media buyers allocate for campaigns on the engine, which morphed from Live Search. "If you had to sit advertisers down and asked them what they wanted from Live Search, many would have said 'more searches,'" Colborn says. "We've seen momentum in consumer activity on Bing, which should ultimately increase ad budgets."

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