While there have been reports of ad links being spotted in Microsoft’s Bing Chat service in the past few weeks, today the company has made it official. Microsoft has a new Bing blog entry that describes plans for monetizing the chatbot with ads.
The blog post stated that Microsoft’s goal with Bing Chat is to “drive more traffic to publishers in this new world of search”. Yusuf Mehdi, the company’s Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, stated:
The early progress is encouraging. Based on our data from the preview, we are driving more traffic from all types of users. We have brought more people to Bing/Edge for new scenarios like chat and we are seeing increased usage. Then, we have uniquely implemented ways to drive traffic to publishers including citations within the body of the chat answers that are linked to sources as well as citations below the chat results to “learn more” with links to additional sources.
The post states that the company has met with some of the businesses that are partners in the Microsoft Start news feed service. Those partners provided feedback to Microsoft on how they could use Bing Chat to link to their content and services. Microsoft added a couple of early ideas:
- An expanded hover experience where hovering over a link from a publisher will display more links from that publisher giving the user more ways to engage and driving more traffic to the publisher’s website.
- For our Microsoft Start partners, placing a rich caption of Microsoft Start licensed content beside the chat answer helping to drive more user engagement with the content on Microsoft Start where we share the ad revenue with the partner. We’re also exploring placing ads in the chat experience to share the ad revenue with partners whose content contributed to the chat response.
Since Microsoft still considers these ad plans to be “early ideas” it’s more than likely that formatting and the overall ad experience will change in the coming months for Bing Chat.