Microsoft Ads has recently introduced the PLA Extension, a game-changing feature that allows marketers to run ads both onsite and offsite with a single budget. The new extension empowers advertisers to leverage first-party data from retailers and Microsoft’s audience potential, enabling a more comprehensive and unified approach to retail media investments. In this entry we’ll explore how PLA Extension changes retail media, benefiting marketers and advertisers alike.
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The Challenges of Onsite Advertising
While onsite advertising on retailer websites has proven to provide a high return on investment (ROI), it also limits the reach of ads. Retailer websites are closed ecosystems, run by the publisher (the retailer). Although onsite advertising offers advantages, such as reaching high-intent buyers and providing access to valuable first-party data, it confines reach to shoppers who are already searching for products on the retailer’s website. This limitation is even more pronounced for advertisers with low inventory, limited SKUs, or in highly competitive categories.
But what is PLA Extension?
Microsoft Ads’ PLA Extension addresses these challenges by offering a fully integrated retail media solution that serves product ads both onsite and offsite, automatically optimizing for the best balance of performance and reach. With PLA Extension, you can reach a significantly larger pool of in-market shoppers offsite and bring them back to the retailer’s site to make a purchase. Additionally, you gain unified reporting and attribution without any heavy lifting, making it easier to measure the impact of ads and analyze the shopper’s journey.
Leveraging First-Party Data and Microsoft’s Audience Intelligence
PLA Extension not only provides more ad supply offsite but also allows you to activate the retailer’s first-party data and Microsoft’s audience intelligence. This helps you strategically target highly relevant shoppers through offsite channels, including new buyers, making it a powerful tool for both expanding reach and driving sales.
How does PLA Extension work?
When you use PLA Extension, it automatically extends product listing ads to offsite product placements powered by the Microsoft Search Network and Microsoft Audience Network if an onsite campaign is underspending. This optimizes performance and reaches across on and offsite product ad placements, ensuring you capture a wider audience with a single campaign.
PLA Extension in Action
Consider this scenario – Max is searching for a new cell phone on a retailer’s website and sees your ad but leaves without making a purchase. Later, he encounters your ad again on Bing, clicks through, and completes the purchase on the retailer’s site. Simultaneously, Rachel, another shopper, discovers your brand through an ad on DuckDuckGo and also makes a purchase. Thanks to PLA Extension, you’ve reached in-market shoppers both on and off the retailer’s site with a single campaign.
The launch of Microsoft Ads’ PLA Extension marks a significant step forward in retail media advertising. By providing marketers with a unified approach to reach shoppers across onsite and offsite channels, drives brand awareness, increases audience reach, and ultimately, boosts sales.