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Contextual Advertising with Microsoft

Posted on 3.13.2007
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Microsoft Content Ads are being rolled out, much to the delight of many online advertisers and publishers. Similar to other contextual advertising programs, Microsoft Content Ads will be displayed next to relevant content, with only a handful of minor differences at first impression. As of now, ads are being displayed only within the Microsoft network in categories such as health & fitness, tech & gadgets and travel and money. Microsoft will surely benefit from this type of controlled testing which will provide key data for improvements and planning for wider release – let’s just hope that Microsoft doesn’t follow Yahoo!’s timeline. Some of the intriguing features of Microsoft's system:
  • Hybrid: Advertisers can choose to use a mixture of both search and content ads by setting up different groups.
  • Turn off Content Ads: A nice option available to turn off your content ads while still running your search ad campaign.
  • Content-only and Search-only Ad Groups: Create separate ad groups for content or search only, allowing for greater analysis of the effectiveness of your various campaigns and keywords.
A quick run-through of contextual advertising on the Microsoft network (can we get a catchy name here please?) shows that it's live and being actively tested. Microsoft is testing various ad formats currently on different portions of the page (something which website publishers should always do to see which ad space generates the highest click through rate. All of the ads displayed during our visit were relevant to the content.

Although only available on the Microsoft network for now, getting in on the deal could be very lucrative. Microsoft boasts 96 million unique visitors to their network every month, 81% of whom purchased online in the past six months.

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