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Well, it’s safe to say that it’s been an eventful week for our team! Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to share some of the milestones our exchange has reached, as well as a perspective from my team’s participation in this week’s IAB Networks & Exchanges conference in New York City.
First, I’m proud to share that all non-guaranteed MSN and Fox Sports inventory is now available through the Microsoft Advertising Exchange in the U.S., joining the Windows Live non-guaranteed U.S. inventory that we announced in March. This announcement marks the first time a true RTB (real-time bidded) exchange has provided access to such premium assets, and it shows that we are delivering on our promise to make Microsoft owned and managed inventory available via RTB to advertisers and agencies. Doug Weaver, founder and CEO of Upstream Group, mentioned during his keynote at the IAB Networks & Exchanges conference that the advertising industry and publishers have reached a “stalemate” in making quality inventory available through exchanges. I think our progress demonstrates that Microsoft is breaking through the impasse.
Also, during IAB Network & Exchanges my colleagues Eric Dahlberg, Director of Exchange and Channel Partners; Esco Strong, Director of Exchange Marketplace Management; Peter MacDonald, Director of Business Development; and I had a chance to discuss our Exchange offering and the early-stage successes we continue to see with our partners and clients. The below excerpts from the sessions showcase just a couple of those positive experiences, as well as the benefits advertisers are seeing from our brand-safe inventory.
-- Eric spoke on a panel with Art Muldoon of Accordant Media and Michael Rubenstein of AppNexus. They discussed how Accordant Media tapped our Exchange for its scalable brand-safe inventory to run a campaign for one of Accordant’s e-commerce clients, aimed at the “mommy” demographic. The client realized an 8x increase in daily conversions through our quality inventory, and Accordant Media further used these results to convince their client (traditionally a search advertiser) of the potential of display. As a result, Accordant Media spent twice as much on our MSN and Windows Live inventory, and the CPM they paid increased 3x, making this a success for all involved.
-- Esco and Peter spoke about the challenges premium publishers face, and how we help address those challenges through our Exchange. The audience was deeply engaged as Esco shared our view that a single auction with flexible controls for publishers is critical to optimizing yield. As a proof point, Esco and Peter also shared a case study about how Windows Live (Hotmail and Messenger) improved the monetization of its non-guaranteed inventory through the Microsoft Advertising Exchange. Below is a snapshot of the results:
1. Increased Yield: From November 2010 through March 2011, Windows Live inventory sold through the Microsoft Advertising Exchange monetized at rates 192 percent higher than the rates achieved through traditional non-guaranteed channels. (Overall eCPM for this inventory was 35 percent higher than during the same period a year earlier.)
2. No Impact on Guaranteed Direct Sales: Sales channel conflict has been manageable with the controls we have provided. In addition, Windows Live did not see an adverse impact on the guaranteed sales, as the volume, rate, and revenue all showed an increase year over year.
Finally, throughout the conference we heard a common theme from our customers, both in-person and via Twitter, that there is appreciation for our big bet on RTB and our ability to bring a scalable model to market. Our team will continue to deliver on this bet, so stay tuned for more news and updates to come. For more information about our current offerings, check out the Microsoft Advertising Exchange site. As always, please share your perspectives and let us know if you have questions about our Exchange.
Dennis Buchheim, General Manager of Scale Display, Microsoft Advertising
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