Szetela’s Scoop! Microsoft’s LinkedIn News May Imply More than LinkedIn Ad Integration for Bing Advertisers
Microsoft’s announced acquisition of LinkedIn today has already sent ripples through the PPC SEM advertising industry. Marketers are predicting (or hoping) that the LinkedIn ad platform will be merged with Bing Ads, allowing PPC advertisers to run Bing Ads and LinkedIn ad campaigns from the same dashboard.
I think the acquisition could actually be the cornerstone of an important new Bing Ads strategy: the creation and expansion of a Microsoft Display Network.
Urgent Push for a Microsoft Display Network
Microsoft has never been a major player in display advertising. Currently, Bing Ads advertisers can place text ads on Microsoft’s owned and operated sites (like MSN Money), but that’s just a handful of sites, and targeting options are limited to rudimentary demographics.
Facebook and Google display advertising, on the other hand, account for billions in revenue for those two dominant players. Flexible hypertargeting capabilities have helped advertisers finally reap ROIs that rival those obtainable through search advertising.
Two recent developments underscore Microsoft’s sense of urgency:
- First, Google just announced that they’re expanding their display network (already reaching, they say, 90 percent of all internet users) by the addition of Cross-Exchange Buying inventory.
- Secondly, Facebook has been quietly building the size of its Facebook Audience Network to include people and sites outside the set of Facebook users. And they recently announced a new feature that will let advertisers target an even bigger audience.
3 Moves for Microsoft to Rival Google & Facebook
Look for Microsoft to muscle its way in and grab a big slice of the display ads pie. I see three big moves by Microsoft ahead:
- Step 1 will be the integration of Bing Ads and LinkedIn Advertising.
- Step 2 will be the introduction of additional ad sizes and formats for display advertising.
- For Step 3, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft grows its display network through other means, like additional acquisitions, or the creation of a publisher program to rival Google’s AdSense.
Long-time Microsoft watchers know that the Redmond giant rarely gets it right the first time, but time and again has “versioned” its way to dominance. Could the Bing Ads we know today be the Windows 3.1 of PPC advertising — and is Microsoft about to go all Windows 95 on us? A Microsoft Display Network would be a big play that would give display advertisers exciting new options for their ad dollars.
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