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September 25, 2006

Microsoft unveils global advertising brand strategy, trashes 3rd party publishers

Posted by David Hunter at 10:58 AM ET.

Pull on your hip boots, it’s a Microsoft “global advertising brand strategy.” There’s not anything new, but it now has a snappy name:

At Advertising Week 2006, Microsoft Corp. will announce the worldwide launch of Microsoft® Digital Advertising Solutions in a move that combines the company’s broad set of global advertising products and services into a unified offering for advertisers. Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions is designed to connect advertisers with their target audiences across such devices as PCs, Xbox® video game systems, Web-enabled mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of global sales and marketing and chief media revenue officer at Microsoft, said Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions is a response to one of advertisers’ key challenges. “As today’s consumers spend more and more time online across various digital devices like mobile phones and video games, advertisers are finding they can no longer reach their entire target audience by advertising on a single medium,” she said. “Microsoft is uniquely positioned because of our extensive global audience, high level of consumer engagement, and engaging ad opportunities across Microsoft’s platform to connect advertisers with a million different audiences of one. We’re addressing the reality of media fragmentation and enabling advertisers to get back to what they do best: creating engaging and creative ads.”

Fair enough, but it would have been better if we had heard about some nifty new tooling that would make it easy to buy ads across all the venues (or some such) to add the spice of novelty to merely re-announcing existing programs with an umbrella moniker. Frankly, this is the kind of announcement you would see from a publishing company hyping the swell advertising opportunities across all their magazines or newspapers.

That feeling is reinforced by Microsoft’s Don Dodge who disdains running ads on websites that lack the Microsoft cachet:

Do you know where your on line advertisements are going? Mongolia, Syria, Pakistan, or other places where you don’t do business? Microsoft today announced Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions , a service that only delivers ads to respected Microsoft sites.

On-line advertising is very cost effective and trackable if done correctly with top tier sites. When your ads get syndicated out to an advertising network all bets are off. The percentage of invalid clicks on advertising network sites is much higher than on search engines or tier one content sites.

I think I just heard Microsoft decline to compete for the third party publishers that give Google about 40% of their ad revenue. Since Microsoft is way behind Google and Yahoo in demonstrating a third party publishing solution to the market, I suppose they might as well feature it by making an appeal to the carriage trade. But the broader question is whether Microsoft will ever try to attract third party publishers. It looks like Microsoft regards itself as a purely a content provider in the Web advertising business – a sort of glorified AOL or upmarket MySpace – and any aspirations to a broader role have gone by the wayside. Too bad, they might have been a contender.

Filed under Advertising, Coopetition, Executives, General Business, Google, Joanne Bradford, MSN, Marketing, Microsoft, Public Relations, Yahoo, adCenter

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3 Responses to “Microsoft unveils global advertising brand strategy, trashes 3rd party publishers”

  1. Earnings: Google, Apple, Yahoo and more -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] More details here including the fact that 40% of revenues come from non-Google owned sites. Maybe Microsoft will rethink their disdain for 3rd party publishers. [...]

  2. Bradford to head MSN? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The thrust of Guth’s article is that Bradford has struggled to represent the old style of advertising sales (complete with glad handing salesman) in the techie world of Microsoft and that she might just be what MSN needs to get ad sales going. One hopes so since what Bradford has done so far as ad czar is mostly renaming Microsoft’s ad sales program and unsurprisingly, that hasn’t done much for the bottom line. [...]

  3. Google beats expectations, but… -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] “The stock is down because they didn’t blow out the numbers. Expectations have come up recently,” said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Global Crown Capital. “As expected they gained share relative to Yahoo in paid search but not by a wide margin.” Note also that per the press release, 37% of Google ad revenue came from partner sites. While this has been dropping slightly over recent quarters it’s still a respectable chunk of change, but one that Microsoft so far refuses to sully its hands with. Filed under Coopetition, MSN, Google, adCenter, Yahoo, Microsoft [...]

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