At the Bing Partner Summit, this week, Microsoft announced the launch of its new audience targeted display network, simply named Microsoft Audience Network (MSAN).
Advertisers will be able to target individuals based on their web and search activity, demographic and consumer behavior activity, and select LinkedIn profile dimensions. The audience graph consists of 120 million Office365 subscribers, 1.5 billion Windows users and 500 million LinkedIn users. There will also be data from Outlook and Skype users.
MSAN will utilize ad inventory on MSN, Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Edge browser, as well as syndication partner sites. Users will be reached with two responsive ad formats- image-based ads and feed-based ads. The image-based ads will feature an image, headline and description. The feed-based ads are dynamic remarketing ads that will allow advertisers to remarket to site visitors and customers with ads for the specific products they viewed or added to their cart.
Show me, show me!
MSAN will be accessed and executed via the Bing Ads interface.
The below screenshots show the setup process:
How does this impact brands?
The ability to utilize Microsoft's audience graph is very compelling, especially with the inclusion of users' LinkedIn dimensions. MSAN can be a strong addition to all brands' media plans, but the LinkedIn, MS Office and Skype data make MSAN a must for B2B advertisers.
Microsoft has also stressed that brand safety considerations are paramount with how and where ads appear on its own sites, and on syndication partners.
Audience targeted advertising is standard practice with thousands of ad exchanges, and standalone offerings from the likes of Facebook and Google, already available. However, Microsoft's audience graph is extremely appealing and quite unique. The MS Office, Skype and, jewel in the crown, LinkedIn user data allows brands to target business professionals, and across Microsoft's distribution (not only within the confines of business websites). This means incredibly focused B2B targeting, at scale, in brand safe environments.
The launch of the MSAN could well result in Microsoft becoming the leading solution for online B2B advertising.