Marketers Intrigued by Windows Live

  |  November 3, 2005   |  Comments

A new advertiser-friendly Microsoft raises new possibilities for marketers.

While Microsoft touts its new Windows Live initiative as a sea change in the way software is delivered, advertisers are more likely to see it as a welcome additional ad opportunity. It's also a strong indication that Microsoft is getting serious about building its advertising business.

"This is going to create more opportunities for advertisers across Microsoft properties. It will help advertisers increase reach, as well as offer more targeting and more control over ads," Eric Hadley, MSN's senior director of advertising and marketing, told ClickZ News. Hadley said he believes ads on the communications services would be more appropriate for advertisers seeking massive reach and awareness, while ads on content pages would be more contextually relevant.

With Windows Live, as well as the upcoming Office Live and Xbox Live sites, Microsoft has added more places where ads managed via adCenter would be distributed. The ability to place very targeted ads across properties will be the most attractive aspect, said John Cate, VP and national media director at Carat Fusion.

"For most marketers, there’s immense pressure on the online channel to produce business results. That leads to immediate interest in this sort of move," Cate told ClickZ News. "The thing that differentiates Microsoft, and which no other company can claim, is that they are leveraging the massive installed base of their operating system and applications."

At launch, Windows Live will offer many of the same opportunities that have been available in the online applications on MSN -- including ads in instant messaging, blog hosting and Web-based email -- but with more contextual and behavioral targeting capabilities, Hadley said. When Office Live launches next year, it will add more application-based ads.

While some marketers may worry that this would overexpose users to ads, others argue that relevant ads -- targeted via the promised features of adCenter -- won't be perceived negatively by consumers. "There is always a threat of ad clutter. However, the more targeted the ad, the less likely it is to be perceived as clutter," said Kevin Lee, executive chairman of SEM firm Did-it. "If it's an ad I want to see, then it turns from advertising into editorial . . . almost."

The Windows Live initiative also has broader implications, indicating that Microsoft will be placing a larger focus on advertising. While the MSN unit has always been dedicated to advertising, what's new here is a larger Microsoft commitment to the industry, according to Jeff Lanctot, VP of media at Avenue A/Razorfish.

"This is Bill Gates saying that advertising is important to the future of the company," Lanctot said. "When adCenter launched, it was viewed by many as Microsoft's search answer. Now it's clear that search was step one, and adCenter was step one of Microsoft's commitment to advertising."

Lanctot, along with several other ad-industry heavyweights, was invited to Tuesday's launch of Windows Live in San Francisco. That in itself is a good sign, he said.

"I really was left with the idea of a seamless experience; it's something that resonated with me," Lanctot said. "They have a lot going in their favor, but there are obstacles as well. Now it's all about the execution."

The plan is to create opportunities for advertiser to use adCenter to buy multiple ad units across multiple Microsoft properties -- which will eventually be delivered across multiple devices.

Microsoft has been increasingly devoting resources to its advertising business. In the spring, it began beta testing adCenter to manage paid listings on MSN Search, launched in France and Singapore in September, and is now in a pilot stage in the U.S.

"Microsoft has made a huge investment in advertising, both on the development side and the sales and marketing side," Hadley said. "Our technology brings a lot to advertising to make it more relevant, and we're bringing our learnings from MSN to build an ad network across our properties to help reach the Microsoft audience in different ways."

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Newcomb

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.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...