Microsoft set to launch ad network

Microsoft Advertising is planning to take on Yahoo! and AOL with the launch of Microsoft Media Network in the UK. The new service will help advertisers create targeted campaigns across MSN.

The new network, which combines Microsoft’s existing ad networks DRIVEpm and Microsoft Direct Response, is being launched to compete directly with AOL’s Platform-A and the Yahoo! Network, and goes live on January 30, following a month-long trial.

The Microsoft Media Network will bring together Microsoft’s online portfolio, including MSN, Windows Live Messenger and Office Online, as well as premium inventory from over 300 media partners including Facebook and Piczo. It will also allow advertisers to target different audiences, based on user profile data.

The company says that its trial run for the UK in December shows that the Microsoft Media Network reached 32 million unique users and served 12.6 billion impressions – more than its competitors.

Microsoft is now opening up the network to all advertisers and will be touring the country with roadshows to sign up agencies and brands.

Microsoft Media Network head Zuzanna Gierlinska says: “The network has unique access to 21 million registered MSN passport users, which can provide brands with more targeted campaigns based on data that meets their target audience. This could be through re-engagement for previous visitors, profiling based on user demographics, behavioural targeting from keyword searches or eventually mobile and gaming opportunities.”

Microsoft says its extended network provides brands with extensive reach and brand exposure, through access to 85% of the UK’s online audience, serving 6 billion impressions per month.

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