Microsoft has recently announced the “Microsoft Audience Network”, a network that combines new inventory, ad formats and data sources including LinkedIn, a first since acquiring the site in 2016. Built on top of their Bing Search platform, this new option will give digital advertisers a chance to extend campaigns across a variety of already-owned properties, such as Outlook, MSN and more. While we still await further updates, the initial news is certainly exciting.
This announcement emphasizes delivering greater performance through the combination of search intent and user profile data aimed at creating a seamless match between a person’s needs and an advertiser’s offering:
- Microsoft Graph & AI – the robust data sets, including search activities, demographic targeting, and now LinkedIn professional profiles (including company, industry and job function - closed pilot), will help advertisers effectively target audiences (especially B2B users) more precisely at greater scale. Additionally, the network will incorporate machine learning with AI intended to match ads to relevant users in order to improve ROI over time.
- New Ads and Targeting - Layering Product Audiences (closed pilot) with feed ads, advertisers can re-market to customers based on the products they viewed or added to their cart, On top of the feed-based ads, Microsoft Audience Network also supports image-based responsive ads which can run across a variety of properties (like MSN, Outlook, Edge Browser and Bing). GDN ad sizes are even compatible, giving advertisers the ability to get more out of their existing ads.
Examples of Microsoft Ads
- Brand Safety – Microsoft claims this new network provides marketers a scalable environment that is brand safe. They haven’t released many details on this so far, but have included their owned and operated sites as examples.
What does this mean for Advertisers?
The early news on this network is creating some initial excitement. The use of LinkedIn data is intriguing, given the growing desire to target “business to business” audiences online at even greater scale than previously possible.
Microsoft made a point of calling out targeting, AI, image and responsive ads, and even using new data sources to be smarter with advertising dollars. However, the announcement does leave some standing questions around ad inventory (what other properties can we look forward to?) and assurances related to brand safety (especially from sources like LinkedIn, who sit on a massive amount of professional user data).
We’re eager to dive deeper into the details as more news becomes available.