The U.S. pilot is over. AdCenter now serves all ads on Microsoft's domestic sites.
Microsoft flipped the switch today on its AdCenter paid search platform. It's now using it to run all ads on its U.S. search properties.
Microsoft had been slowly increasing the portion of ads on MSN and Windows Live that were served by AdCenter instead of those from its expiring deal with Yahoo Search Marketing. Since late February, AdCenter has handled 70 percent of Microsoft's ads on U.S. searches.
At its annual MSN Strategic Account Summit, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shared Microsoft's plans to spend $1.1 billion in research and development for MSN and advertising-related products this year, highlighting work that's underway to improve customer experiences in interactive TV, mobile, and gaming, among others.
"Only one or two companies can keep pace with consumer demand and advertisers' needs. No one is more committed to investing and partnering with you around this need," Ballmer told the crowd of executives from the advertising, marketing and media industries. "I want you to know that we're a patient, long-term, and committed participant in everything we do."
Microsoft today announced plans for a U.S. beta test of a contextual ad product this summer, beginning with Microsoft's own sites, and expanding to third-party sites later this year. AdCenter, which has been rebranded with the Microsoft moniker rather than MSN, will be used to serve search, contextual and display ads on Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live Safety Center, Windows Live for Mobile, Office Live and Office Online, and Xbox.com. It has been testing ads on some of its services in limited markets since March.
The ContentAds platform would compete with rival contextual networks such as Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft SVP and chief advertising strategist, highlighted Microsoft's plans to incorporate its advanced targeting features into ContentAds as well, and to maintain search and contextual ads in separate marketplaces. Advertisers have long complained that Google does not offer enough control to manage the two separately. ContentAds would also offer contextual graphical ads, something that Google has offered only on a very limited basis.
AdCenter was unveiled at this same event last year, and went live in France and Singapore in September. The U.S. pilot has been in use by several advertisers since October, with increasing distribution on MSN and Windows Live since then. Around that time, Microsoft restructured the company with a renewed emphasis on advertising. Testing of adCenter will begin in the U.K. in June.
Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!
Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.
US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.
E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.