I had to rush to catch a plane this morning and I missed the embargo lifting on this important news: As expected, MSFT will build its own Overture/AdWords competitor, called AdCenter, due sometime later this year or early next. This does not come as a surprise to most, it’s not only logical, it’s necessary. The big question is whether the company will able to scale to the tail – or will it keep its ecosystem closed to MSN. For now, it’s closed, but syndication is in the plans, I was told in a pre briefing. More soon, I am dashing onto the plane….release in extended entry.
Seattle paper’s coverage….
*** Near Final Draft *** Microsoft Confidential *** Near Final Draft ***
For Release 9:01 p.m. PST
March 15, 2005
MSN Brings Together Advertising and Marketing Leaders at the Sixth Annual MSN Strategic Account Summit
REDMOND, Wash. — March 15, 2005 — Tomorrow Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., will deliver the keynote address at the sixth annual MSN Strategic Account Summit, a leading industry forum held on Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Wash, where many of the industry’s most innovative thought leaders will meet to discuss what will shape the advertising industry today and in the future.
Based on feedback from marketers and customers, MSN developed a two-day agenda within the theme of “Mastering the Medium,” armed to help the more than 500 in attendance identify opportunities to most effectively reach their audiences. Attendees will also gain insights into MSN’s vision and strategy as well as the opportunity to hear and interact with industry-leading speakers in categories such as branding, direct-response campaigns and privacy. Examples of innovative work, best results, trends and accomplishments that reach beyond the boundaries of today’s advertising will be highlighted at the summit to encourage the industry to continue to move forward on the road to mastery.
Speakers and panelists at the sixth annual summit include the following:
• Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp.
• Mark Burnett, creator and executive producer of reality television programs such as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice”
• Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO and chairman of the executive committee of Google Inc.
• Ted Meisel, president of Overture Services Inc. and senior vice president of Yahoo! Inc.
• Ann Fudge, chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands
“Microsoft’s Strategic Account Summit is one of the most important industry events of the year for advertisers, publishers and creative agencies,” Ballmer said. “We are proud to host many of the top thought leaders from the advertising and media community, and join them in addressing how to interact and communicate with consumers in new and meaningful ways online.”
MSN to Preview Prototype Advertising Platform
MSN will also unveil Microsoft’s next-generation online advertising platform, MSN adCenter, built on Microsoft technology that will help advertisers get higher returns by understanding and connecting to their desired audience throughout the MSN network. Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform division, will demonstrate the first component of MSN adCenter, a new prototype MSN paid-search solution, set to be piloted in Singapore and France to gather customer feedback within the next six months.
Within the MSN adCenter platform, the new MSN paid-search solution will be tightly integrated with other future capabilities, to give advertisers a one-stop shop from which to plan, execute and adjust their online campaigns. The new MSN paid-search solution will provide keyword buyers with in-depth audience intelligence including geographic location, gender, age group, lifestyle segment and time of day. As a result, advertisers will be able to plan more strategic advertising investments and achieve higher click-to-buy conversion rates among consumers. MSN remains committed to its partnership with Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions (formerly Overture) and will continue to partner to offer high-quality search listings to for advertisers.
MSN Creates Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team
During his keynote presentation, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Blake Irving announced the evolution of the MSN Custom Solutions Team to take on an expanded charter in the U.S. as the new MSN Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team.
“At MSN we were among the first to realize the potential of branded experiences online when we formed our Custom Solutions Team three years ago,” said Joanne Bradford, MSN vice president and chief media revenue officer. “Now with the explosion of consumer and marketer interest in branded entertainment, we believe it’s the right time to expand our charter.”
The new MSN Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team will be a resource for brand marketers to reach the massive MSN consumer audience in new ways online via experiential marketing and entertainment that taps into consumer passions for sports, music, movies, video, instant messaging and more online experiences on MSN.
Irving cited to evidence in the industry that confirmed that innovative, software powered branded entertainment experiences on MSN were extremely effective for advertisers on the network. According to Dynamic Logic*, who compared to over 1,700 advertising campaigns that ran on sites across the Internet, MSN’s previous Branded Entertainment Experiences greatly outperformed every metric they measure, performing 57 percent better than average at driving online ad awareness, 25 percent better at increasing aided brand awareness and were 53 percent better at increasing brand favorability. Purchase intent, arguably the hardest metric to lift, increased 75 percent for Branded Entertainment Experiences.
The team has a strong history of working with leading brands and in the past three years has worked with more that 40 of the top consumer brands who have all run engaging and creative branded entertainment experiences on MSN. Many key partners are incorporating MSN products and services into their experiences such as MSN Video, MSN Messenger, MSN Music, and more to provide entertainment and interaction to the online destinations which has proven to be quite successful.
“MSN’s ability to create customized and innovative programs has allowed us to deliver highly impactful programs that increase consumer involvement with the brands we serve. This group consistently forges new territory for our clients and the industry. We consider MSN as a “gold standard” partner in the category of branded entertainment.” Sarah Fay, President of Isobar US (Carat Interactive, Freestyle, iProspect)
A replay of Ballmer’s keynote speech as well as Mehdi’s demonstration from the MSN Strategic Account Summit will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/msn/default.asp by 11:00 am Wednesday, March 16th.