Over the past few days, users have reported seeing ads within the Bing chatbot experience. Based on the limited examples we’ve seen, the GPT-4-powered chatbot embeds relevant ad links in responses to users’ actual questions. Ads don’t seem to show up for most people (including us) yet, but they’ll most likely pop up more frequently and in more places soon. In a new post on the Bing blog, Microsoft Corporate VP for Search and Devices Yusuf Mehdi has admitted that the company is currently exploring putting ads in Bing’s chat experience, indicating that the samples we’ve seen so far are part of its experimentation. He also revealed how the company intends to embed more ads in the new Bing experience.
So far, the ads that show up for users come in the form of a linked citation, along with additional links in a “Learn More” section below Bing’s response to their query. In the future, Microsoft could launch an experience wherein hovering over a link from an advertiser will display more links from its website in hopes of driving more traffic to it. The company is also exploring the idea of adding rich captions from its Start personalized news feed publishers right beside the AI chatbot’s responses.
The fact that Microsoft is monetizing its Bing chatbot is an expected development. From the start, the question was never “Will the company do it?” but “How will the company do it?” And now we have an idea of the tech giant’s initial plans. As Mehdi said in his post, Bing has amassed more than 100 million daily active users after the chatbot came out. Since one third of those users are new to Bing, they present a new opportunity for advertisers, and Microsoft clearly intends to strike while the iron is hot.