What's the difference between the search and content networks?

What's the difference between the search and content networks?

You can choose to display ads in either network or both networks. Learn about both of them here.

After June 30, 2017, Bing Ads will stop serving ads on the content network. Learn more

The ad distribution setting of a campaign or ad group defines where you want your ads to display: on the search network or the content network (or both networks).

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The search network includes Bing.com (and sites owned and operated by Bing, such as MSN.com, Bing.de and Bing.co.uk), AOL.com (including sites owned and operated by AOL) and Yahoo.com (including sites owned and operated by Yahoo). The search network also includes other third party websites, owned and operated by Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s syndicated search partners.

Both search ads and native ads are distributed on the search network. Native ads are currently available to only a limited number of customers and will be shown only on select websites such as MSN. If native ads are available for your campaign, you can manage your use of these ads and their bids using the native ads bid adjustment on both the campaign and ad group settings pages.

With the search network, you can narrow ad distribution if needed: you can display your search ads on all sites in the search network; just Bing, AOL, and Yahoo owned and operated websites; or just the syndicated search partner sites. See Understanding where your ads will appear for more information.

Our Publisher Performance report (available on the Reports page) is a great tool for determining how well your ad is doing on the search network sites. From this report, you'll see how often your ad displays on different sites; this can help you determine which sites are beneficial and which are not. You can then use the Exclusions feature to exclude specific sites from search ad distribution. To learn more, see How to prevent your ads from showing to certain people.


The ad distribution options Bing, AOL and Yahoo search (owned and operated) only and Bing, AOL and Yahoo syndicated search partners only apply to advertising set up in the following locations: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, France, Germany, and Norway. These settings will not show when you select outside of these markets, either through ad language selection or targeting. All other locations will use All search networks even if the other two options are selected. When you run the Publisher Performance report, you'll see websites based on these ad distribution rules. To learn how ad language and location targeting affects who sees your ads, see How does location targeting and ad language affect who can see my ads?.

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The content network is the ad distribution network for Bing Ads running in Windows apps. When you select the content network as the distribution channel, any keyword you add will have the content match type in addition to any other match type you select. Ads for the content network are referred to as "content ads." See What are keyword match types, and how do I use them? for more information.

For example, content ads display if a keyword for the ad is part of the app. If an ad for a clothing company has the keyword "dress" and the keyword "shoes", a content-network app related to fashion could display the ad even though a person viewing the app did not search for "dress" or "shoes." That's where the content match type keyword works for you. To learn more see, Differences between search ads and content ads and How content ads work.

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