Microsoft has announced that it is considering placing ads in its AI-powered Bing Chat. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, revealed in a blog post on Wednesday that the company is “exploring placing ads in the chat experience,” and a spokesperson confirmed that the ads would be appearing. The chatbot ads are expected to look similar to those that you see in traditional search results, with a small “Ad” box appearing next to citations.
A Step to Share Ad revenue with Partners
Microsoft has been testing the ads in AI-powered Bing Chat for a while, the company discussed this topic with ad agencies back in February. It is unclear how many ads users will see or how Microsoft will determine when to show an ad versus sourcing a response directly from a publisher or website. Mehdi stated that Microsoft wants to “share the ad revenue with partners whose content contributed to the chat response,” but did not specify how the company plans to balance ad and non-ad responses.
Is it possible to block these ads?
As chatbots become more ubiquitous, ads are finding their way into these AI-powered Bing Chat assistants, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to block them using current tools. With ads becoming more seamlessly integrated into chatbots, it will be harder to distinguish them from regular responses, adding to the challenge of determining trustworthy sources. The future of chatbot monetization and user response to ads remains unclear.
Walking a similar path as competitors
The move by Microsoft to add ads to AI-powered Bing Chat follows similar actions taken by other tech giants. Google, for instance, recently announced that it will be adding ads to its Google Maps app. As AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants become more common, it is likely that we will see more ads integrated into these platforms.