Microsoft outlines ad restriction strategy

The advertising industry risks overloading consumers with too many ads if they are not given more control, according to Microsoft.


Microsoft’s VP of Europe, advertising and online Andy Hart (pictured, below) took to Advertising Week Europe’s stage to launch its “invitational marketing” drive, adding “the industry might eat itself” with too many ads.

Earlier today (19 March) Hart explained how the corporation had shifted towards limiting the number and type of ads served through restrictions on its web browser. It has also changed its email service to increase the impact of the ads it does serve to users.

Hart told attendees this was the rational behind Microsoft making “do not track” the default cookie setting on its Internet Explorer 10 web browser plus retiring its Hotmail service – which also served users with display ads – in favour of its Outlook email service.

Andy Hart, Microsoft Advertising

“We’re looking at a new set of rules that limits supply [of advertising inventory]… Otherwise you get people engaging in ‘ad avoidance’ both online and off-line.

“The amount of content [all forms including ads] users receive is over-abundant,” he told Marketing Week, emphasising Microsoft is relying on consumer protection and their subsequent trust as its USP.

The success of the strategy will rely on a “social contract” consisting of three pillars; offering an user a “seamless experience”; “imminent value”; plus offering consumers “transparency and control”, according to Hart.

Microsoft will then use its online technology to try and predict consumers’ intent – or “psycho-graphics” – to predict the most relevant impression for a brand whenever users are served with ads, he says.

Speaking separately in a panel debate at Advertising Week Europe, Jennifer Roebuck, French Connection, multichannel marketing director, also spoke about the danger of overloading consumers with information.

“I’m sitting in a brand trying to adapt how we can shift to the consumer mind change,” she told attendees.

“It’s impossible to keep up [with the number of digital channels out there]. It’s about focus [on the channels that work for a particular brand].”

Roebuck went on to discuss the opinion that consumers are facing overload with the amount of media with the various Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds – a phenomena described as “digi-phrenia.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here