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February 25, 2008

Microsoft Leads Advertisers Into This Decade

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Can I just say how proud I am of Microsoft and their ad system? Every week we get increased signs of life over there in Redmond. Seriously, people, start using adCenter. I know the eyeballs are slim over there right now, but it’s going to grow. With how awesome things are getting, it has to!

The big news today is that Microsoft has revealed a new beta program called "Engagement Mapping", which is an updated method of tracking online ads that takes into account all the user actions that happen before a sale is made. According to Microsoft, Engagement ROI will look at things like "the impact that recency, frequency, size and ad format (such as rich media and video) have on a consumer’s online path to action." This means that you’ll know all the touchpoints a searcher used to find you and how long it took for them to convert. It’s not just about the last click anymore. Just because a user finally converted after they saw that banner ad, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the PPC ad you’re running that really piqued their interest. You should know this.

Microsoft’s Senior Vice President Brian McAndrews called the ‘last ad clicked’ an "outdated and flawed approach" because it ignores all the other touchstones of an advertiser’s campaign. I’d completely agree.

Running an ad campaign without measuring engagement is like throwing up a Web site without running any type of Web analytics. Most of your customers won’t convert the first time they come across your brand, and it’s simply bad business not to take all their other interactions into an account. Tracking customer’s behavior by engagement offers advertisers additional insight into the path customers are taking to reach them, a path that can then be better optimized. An engagement-centric approach will help advertisers see which ads are most effective and ultimately lead to an increased ROI. With companies giving up control of their brands to social media sites and varying ad strategies, it’s time to look beyond the page view and beyond the last click. You want to see the entire conversion funnel, not just the last step.

The new offering from Microsoft is just another step in the evolution of Internet marketing and online advertising. It goes live on March 1 and will be tested by major Microsoft advertisers like Citi Cards, Monster Worldwide, and Sprint.

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One response to “Microsoft Leads Advertisers Into This Decade”

  1. Joe Hunkins writes:

    I’m anxious to see the methods used, but this looks to me more like a way to *justify increased spends* rather than get to the heart of how a conversion happens. Although it’s true that the last click to action does not tell the whole story, I’d guess that user activity before the last click is an almost trivial component of the purchase decision – ie spending on advertising that does not lead to a direct sale is generally going to have negative ROI.
    This is testable but if I’m right the engagement mapping won’t give you a reasonable metric of “wasted spend”.



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