Country-Targeted Bookmarks in Microsoft Search


Country-Targeted bookmarks in Microsoft Search explained

Bookmarks are similar to what was known as “Promoted Results”.
Microsoft says “You can select countries or regions, so only users in those locations see certain content. For example, country-specific information appears in search results in those countries only.” and “Specify countries or regions and only users with their browser set to a targeted locale will see that bookmark. You could, for example, make a North American help desk number visible only to users with browsers configured for U.S. or Canada.”

Here is how country targeting is configured for country-specific content in search bookmarks:

Microsoft 365 admin center -> Settings -> Search & intelligence -> Answers -> Bookmarks

Bookmark Name: “Microsoft 365 support North America (English)”
Description: How to get technical support on Microsoft 365 in North America (English)
Keywords: #office 365 support;#microsoft 365 support;#teams support;#sharepoint support;#microsoft search support
then you can select Country or Region:
Canada – English
United States – English

The othe country-targeted bookmark I created for Spanish:

Microsoft says “When you create or modify a bookmark, the search index refreshes, and the bookmark is immediately available to users.”
So from now any user from Mexico or spanish-speaking user from United States when search for “Microsoft 365 support” should have “Microsoft 365 support Worldwide (Spanish)” bookmark popped-up. English-speaking users from Canada or United States should found “Microsoft 365 support North America (English)” bookmark in the top.

country-targeted bookmarks in Microsoft Search are not working

It is not working. Period. Confirmed by Microsoft.
You can try it yourself – Create an AAD user, set AAD country/region, province and city properties to India, Telangana, Hyderabad:
From an Microsoft 365 admin center – assign a license and select location – India.

Ask your friend in India to login and try to search (or create a VM in India and configure browser to India):

Then ensure you configured bookmark targeted to a country India:

And then try to search for “birding” or “indian birds” on behalf of that user:

country-targeted bookmarks in Microsoft Search: make it work

It turns out, the only way to make country-specific bookmarks works is:
– configure Microsoft 365 integration with Bing
– in Bing -> Settings : select Country/Region
– search from Bing



Country-Targeted bookmarks in Microsoft Search: workaround

Now, when you can see that the current implementation is not perfect, the question is:
are there any options to make it work as it should work? I.e., just work, not depending on Bing?
Unfortunately, no, but… there is a workaround:

  • create a dynamic AAD group and configure Dynamic membership rule with something like ‘( -match “India”)’
  • configure bookmark to use the group (not country)

Workaround will require a few hours for Microsoft search to understand what is happening and start promoting bookmarks.


Country-Targeted bookmarks in Microsoft Search: what is coming

What if you are not satisfied with the workaround and must-use-Bing option?
What is the Microsoft’s vision on this feature? Would it change? How it will look like?
Obviously, we’d expect this feature rely on a user profile data (e.g., user contact info in Azure AD).
… and … surprize!!! According to information from Microsoft – they are actively working on this change –
and – yes, showing country/region targeded bookmark to user will be tied to AAD user contact info.
When? They said before the end of 2021.

2022 Update

“Use Azure AD locations” flag

Microsoft implemented “Use Azure AD locations” flag:

Country-Specific Bookmark

And that is exacly what we expected. Description says: “This bookmark will only appear for users with Azure AD locations that match selected countries or regions. If cleared, the user’s IP address will be used to determine location. This checkbox can be altered from both Country or region setting and Targeted variations setting.”.