Microsoft Adds New Display To Outlook.com; Mobile Ad Nets Growing

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Microsoft Publishing

Microsoft Advertising – or is it Microsoft Publishing? – announced a new ad placement called VersaTiles for its popular email portal Outlook.com. Microsoft Advertising’s Jennifer Creegan explains that the ad has three “states:” “Default state: Consumers see the Default state as they log in to Outlook.com. For example, an advertiser can choose to render displaying the tiles with their logo in the top tile and text with more information in the subsequent tiles; Hover state: Consumers can view more in-depth information and see additional images/information if they hover over the tiles; and Click state.” See the example. Creegan explains in an email to AdExchanger that the ads are all first-party served – and no retargeting or CRM matching of email lists are allowed at this time. Microsoft wants brand budgets.

Mobile Ad Networks

Chartboost (AdExchanger Q&A 2012) is one of the fastest-growing mobile ad networks in Silicon Valley, reports TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler. Its secret: the two-year-old startup “wedged itself into the gaming world where it built an early platform for developers to trade advertising inventory,” Cutler writes. Given that games “are the biggest category” for iOS and Android apps, this was “the ideal place to build a focused business.” Read more.

Monitoring Brand Lift

The FT reviews Publicis’ earnings from last week and notes imminent rollout of Publicis’ own ad tech solution – Brand Live, “a monitoring technology that tracks activity on the web through blogs, social media and other traditional media. Publicis will licence this technology to third parties.” Read it (subscription). Is Publicis getting more into the ad tech ownership game, similar to WPP Group?

NYTimes.com Pulls Paywall On Videos

The NYTimes.com’s metered paywall is being lifted – only for video, thanks to the ad support from Acura and Microsoft. Read the release. Denise Warren, EVP for the NYT’s digital products and services group, tells paidContent’s Jeff Roberts, “Part of the reason we’re doing this is because we’re already distributing on other channels like YouTube. Since it’s already available [...] it seems inconsistent to keep it behind the gate.” Read more.

Commoditizing Data

Ad serving, targeting and analytics represent “commoditized, low-hanging fruit” in the eyes of Andy Kahl, Evidon’s director of data analysis. Speaking to AdAge’s Kate Kaye, he voices concerns that the ease of this business may make big players complacent, ultimately stifling new creativity in the data space. “Innovation can only compete against a commodity when its unique value is understood – it's true for organic fruit, German-made sports cars, and now advertising technology,” Kahl says. Read more.

Choice Words

Marketer Phil Fougere of audience targeting company Choicestream takes up the topic of agency trading desks (ATDs) in a company blog post. He writes, "The agencies would be foolish to stable such a cash cow. However, with the added pressure on ATDs from inside the agency as well as from clients and Ad Tech players (who’ve invented a better mouse-trap or come up with deeper analytics or audience insights), it seems only a matter of time before…" Read more.

Scarcity And RTB

According to ad trade The Drum, Xaxis UK Managing Director Nicolas Bidon discussed “how a publisher should approach real-time-bidding – focusing on the consumer and delivering fewer impressions” at a recent AdMonsters event. Bidon offered a use case from BSkyB: “The pay TV operator, which is one of the biggest spenders in RTB, recently revealed it now serves 15 percent fewer impressions year on year via RTB, while maintaining a flat budget, and has seen sales rise five percent as a result.” Read more.

Surprising Search Spend

Kenshoo released its Q1 2013 Global Search Advertising Trends report, showing a 15% increase in global search ad spend for the quarter, compared to Q1 2012. Ad spend naturally dropped from the fourth quarter holiday season but continued on its year-over-year growth trend. The average cost-per-click in the US was $0.38, while global CTRs were up 62% year-over-year. Additionally, mobile devices accounted for 19% of clicks (10% from tablets and 9% from smartphones), but only 14% of ad spend, according to Kenshoo. More findings in the full report.

Souped-Up Facebook Photos

Images on Facebook’s Timeline are about to become stickier. ThingLink, a startup that lets companies embed links, annotations, videos and purchase capabilities in images, has integrated its technology with Facebook, reports AdWeek’s Mike Shields. “The bet is that users will be more inclined to share these souped-up images,” Shields notes. Read more.  Will this be an extension of the Instagram ads strategy?

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