Mobile media. Social media. Analytics. Search advertising. Engagement mapping. To blend the bumper crop of Internet marketing products stored inside its various silos, Microsoft officially rebranded those assets as Microsoft Advertising at the recent advance08 Leadership Summit.
Simply put, Microsoft Advertising puts all the company’s tools and solutions for advertisers, ad agencies and publishers under a single easy-to-understand B2B brand. The panorama includes Microsoft ’s digital advertising platform businesses, Atlas, AdECN, adCenter, DRIVEpm, Massive and ScreenTonic, as well as the company’s media offerings for advertisers.
“Customers are looking for ways to make digital advertising simpler to understand and execute,” explained Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of Microsoft ’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group. “We’re uniquely positioned to marshal both media and technology to cut through much of the complexity and confusion.”
As part of advance08, Microsoft introduced new display advertising extensions to Windows Live for mobile services – Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail – alongside new international services. The company also unveiled plans to enable advertisers to go mobile with keyword campaigns through Microsoft adCenter in Windows Live Search Mobile.
In February, the company announced Engagement Mapping, a reporting system that allows firms to track consumers back through all previous interactions with advertising and marketing messages across multiple sites and channels culminating in a sale. The system is currently being tested by agencies throughout the US to gain more sophisticated insights into what influences buying decisions.
New advances under development in adLabs, the company’s digital advertising technology incubator, include “LifeStages,” a new technology that segments users of Windows Live Spaces into different life stages – for instance, recent college graduates or newlyweds – based on their public blog entries or photo captions. Also in the works are contextual ads for video, and deploying speech recognition technology to present relevant ads to consumers while they view video clips online without interrupting their viewing experience.
Such initiatives cap 12 months of growth and momentum for Microsoft ’s thriving advertising business. Since the company’s May 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, Atlas, and a suite of tools and services for marketers, ad agencies and media companies , the Microsoft brand has been adopted by approximately 100 additional publishers and serves nearly 7.6 billion ad impressions daily
The culmination of advance08 had to be Bill Gates pivotal address as he prepared to step away from day-to-day management of the company in Remond, acknowledging both the company’s leadership and the unfamiliar position MS faces as search advertising undetdog.
“It’s fascinating for us. We have businesses like Mediaroom where we are completely alone, out in front, making the investment, changing things and there’s really no one to compare us to,” Gates said.
“Then we have areas like search where we’re really an underdog. I have to say, it’s kind of fun to be an underdog. You know, it’s neat.” [24×7]