Microsoft recently announced numerous name changes to a handful of its platforms.
Microsoft Ads has accelerated its digital footprint through big-name partnerships over the last few years.
The platform name changes are a result of what the changes represent.
A Quick Background
In the past four years, Microsoft Ads transformed its business to focus on creating an ecosphere that supports advertisers, partners, publishers, and end consumers.
Let’s take a look at a brief timeline of Microsoft Ads partnership developments:
- 2019: Announced PromoteIQ retail media solution acquisition
- 2022: Announced Xandr (formerly Appnexus) acquisition
- 2022: Netflix selects Microsoft as global advertising technology and sales partner
- 2023: Roku Advertising joins forces with Microsoft Ads for cross-platform collaboration
Each acquisition and partnership came with capturing additional online market share.
Maximizing Its Digital Solutions
Microsoft Ads is typically known for its search advertising platform (formerly Bing).
While Microsoft Bing search only makes up 7% of the market share, its audience, and native ad platform offerings have enabled other growth opportunities.
Today, Microsoft supports many more offerings in its advertising platform, including:
- Retail Media
- Connected TV (CTV)
With the scaled offerings and bringing on new clients and new verticals, Microsoft’s strategic expansion is “bringing together the power of a search engine, news distribution, operating system, business network, browser, and gaming platform combined with a supply-side platform for publishers, a demand-side platform for advertisers, and a retail media stack.”
Unifying the Microsoft Brand
The two name change announcements relate to the PromoteIQ and Xandr acquisitions.
- PromoteIQ will now become Microsoft Retail Media.
- Xandr Solutions will now become Microsoft Monetize, Microsoft Invest, and Microsoft Curate.
Per Microsoft’s announcement, the updates will roll out throughout the rest of 2023. No immediate changes are happening regarding ad campaigns, retail media programs, or website monetization services.
Adding AI to Ad Platforms
In addition to the name changes, Microsoft hinted at the upcoming AI developments shortly.
In 2023, Microsoft launched an AI-powered Bing search and Edge browser for users, receiving positive feedback.
Now, Microsoft pledges to bring generative AI to its advertising platforms.
Just today, Microsoft unveiled its predictive targeting tool in the ad platform.
While not commenting on any other specific updates, Microsoft noted the following areas that advertisers might see AI brought in:
- Automate campaign asset creation at scale
- Campaign management efficiencies
- Support a more extensive set of advertising objectives
Advertiser and publisher AI platform updates are on the heels of some Google Ads updates.
Google Ads already supports automated asset creation for Performance Max campaigns, so this announcement sounds like Microsoft’s version will be a fast follow (although not confirmed).
Why Are These Changes Significant?
The goal of these name changes is how Microsoft speaks to the value and offers of each platform.
From an advertiser and publisher perspective, the name changes make sense.
A simplified and recognizable name gives Microsoft an advantage in appealing to more brands, huge retail brands.
With Xandr having multiple solutions, Microsoft’s strategy to segment out the solution offerings is the right move. The solutions are more straightforward for advertisers and publishers to understand which platform is right for them.
There may be other competitive factors that play into the name change.
Earlier this month, The Trade Desk (TDD) announced significant updates to its programmatic platform to shake up the Big Tech monopoly.
As more brands are emerging and sophisticating their solutions, Microsoft is looking for a seat at the table. Microsoft is quickly becoming a significant international force with advertising capabilities in 187 markets and 35 languages.
Microsoft is growing its search footprint and diversifying itself against other players.
The PromoteIQ acquisition shows its strategic focus on the retail industry, and its offerings are unique and something Google doesn’t have.
The use cases for different industries are also apparent in Microsoft’s offerings.
If you’re not advertising with Microsoft in any capacity, don’t sit on the opportunity too long. Their capacity for growth seems just to be getting started.
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