MSN Takes Ad Sales Online

In an example of Internet publishers using the medium to ease ad sales, MSN on Monday launched the MSN Media Center, an effort aimed at bringing in smaller advertisers and improving customer service for existing clients.

MSN’s Web properties, which include MSN.com, Slate, reached 52.7 percent of the online audience in February and are ranked third by Media Metrix, after AOL and Yahoo.

This move to take ad sales online is the first by one of the major players in the Internet publishing business, and it comes at a time when the advertising industry as a whole is taking more business to online exchanges like AdAuction.com, AdOutlet.com and AdFlight.com.

These online information and buying centers are said to level the playing field for smaller advertisers, who may want to make purchases but don’t know exactly where to start.

Like some of the online marketplaces, the MSN Media Center will let advertisers input their desired demographics, and the system, which uses @plan data, will return the most appropriate advertising opportunities.

“One of the challenges customers face is how to synthesize the over 150 available ad products throughout MSN,” said Paul Major, lead product planner for MSN Sales.

“By combining Microsoft technology and MSN Sales expertise, the MSN Media Center quickly and efficiently tailors MSN sites and ad product information into the areas most relevant to our customers advertising goals and objectives.”

Smaller customers can even buy online with a credit card through the LinkExchange Ad Store, while existing clients are steered toward contacting their current account executive.

Existing clients gain access to a password-protected area in which they’re able to get statistics on their current campaigns, and gives them sneak previews of new ad products and programs at MSN.

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