Back in June of 2015, it was announced that Microsoft and AOL had signed a 10-year agreement for Bing to provide search listings and ads to AOL as of January 1, 2016. But now that we are in the new year, this deal has come into effect and is now official. Bing has taken over serving search results and ads for AOL from Google. The ten year deal that started at the beginning of the year affects all AOL search traffic on all devices. There is more coverage on this in an article written by Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land.
So what does the move mean for people who manage Bing Ads campaigns?
On one note, the Ad distribution section under Ad Group level settings now includes AOL along with Bing and Yahoo.
Also, you can now change ad group level network distribution within the Bing Ads Editor. Any settings you have set up as of now, you won’t need to worry about them being changed, with the exception of the fact that AOL is now included.
Because of this deal, there is now the inclusion of AOL’s syndicated search partners in relevant searches. There are insights into this type of traffic that you couldn’t get before when AOL ads were served by Google. When you look at the Website URL (Publisher) report, you’ll notice that any URLs that are owned and operated by AOL will appear on separate lines and aren’t consolidated with Bing and Yahoo’s owned and operated websites that are under “Bing and Yahoo! Search Properties Only.” Although you won’t necessarily know whether the site is part of the AOL syndication, but you can add individual sites to exclusion lists.
AOL Search will appear as a new value in the Network and Top vs. Other columns in reports, such as the Keyword performance report and Campaign performance report. AOL will be listed with Bing and Yahoo syndicated search partners.
Finally, AOL traffic will factor into both Bing Ads Campaign and Keyword Planners from now on.