Microsoft recently announced numerous name changes for a handful of its platforms.
Microsoft Ads has accelerated its digital presence in recent years through well-known partnerships.
The platform name changes are a result of what the changes represent.
A brief background
Over the past four years, Microsoft Ads has transformed its business and focused on creating an ecosphere that supports advertisers, partners, publishers and consumers.
Let’s take a quick look at the Microsoft Ads partnership developments:
- 2019: Announced acquisition of retail media solution PromoteIQ
- 2022: Acquisition of Xandr (formerly Appnexus) announced
- 2022: Netflix selects Microsoft as its global advertising technology and distribution partner
- 2023: Roku Advertising partners with Microsoft Ads for cross-platform collaboration
Each acquisition and partnership brought with it the gaining of additional online market share.
Maximizing its digital solutions
Microsoft Ads is typically known for its search engine advertising platform (formerly Bing).
While Microsoft’s Bing search accounts for just 7% of the market share, its audience and native ad platform offerings have opened up other growth opportunities.
Today, Microsoft supports many more offerings on its advertising platform, including:
- retail media
- Connected Television (CTV)
With the scaled offerings and the acquisition of new customers and new industries, Microsoft strategic expansion is “the combination of the power of a search engine, news distribution, operating system, enterprise network, browser and gaming platform with a supply-side platform for publishers, a demand-side platform for advertisers and a media stack for retail.”
Unification of the Microsoft brand
The two name change announcements relate to the acquisitions of PromoteIQ and Xandr.
- PromoteIQ will now Microsoft Retail Media.
- Xandr Solutions will now Microsoft Monetize, Microsoft Invest and Microsoft Curate.
As per Microsoft’s announcement, the updates will roll out later in 2023. There are no immediate changes related to advertising campaigns, retail media programs, or website monetization services.
Adding AI to advertising platforms
In addition to the name changes, Microsoft gave brief hints about upcoming AI developments.
In 2023, Microsoft introduced an AI-powered Bing search and Edge browser to users and received positive feedback.
Now Microsoft is promising to bring generative AI to its advertising platforms.
Just today Microsoft introduced its predictive targeting tool in the advertising platform.
While Microsoft didn’t comment on other specific updates, it did point to the following areas where advertisers may see AI introduced:
- Automate the creation of campaign assets at scale
- Campaign management efficiency
- Support a broader range of advertising objectives
Updates to the AI platform for advertisers and publishers follow some Google Ads updates.
Google Ads already supports automatic asset creation for Performance Max campaigns, so this announcement sounds like Microsoft’s version will follow quickly (although not confirmed).
Why are these changes significant?
The goal of these name changes is how Microsoft expresses the value and offerings of each platform.
From the perspective of advertisers and publishers, the name changes make sense.
A simplified and recognizable name gives Microsoft the advantage of targeting more brands, big retail brands.
Because Xandr has multiple solutions, Microsoft’s strategy of segmenting the solution offerings is the right move. The solutions make it easier for advertisers and publishers to understand which platform is right for them.
Other competitive factors may also play a role in the name change.
Earlier this month, The Trade Desk (TDD) announced major updates to its programmatic platform to shake up the big tech monopoly.
As more brands emerge and refine their solutions, Microsoft is looking for a seat at the table. Microsoft is rapidly becoming a major international force with advertising capabilities in 187 markets and 35 languages.
Microsoft is expanding its search presence and diversifying itself from other providers.
The acquisition of PromoteIQ demonstrates its strategic focus on retail and its offerings are unique and something Google doesn’t have.
The use cases for different industries are also reflected in the offerings from Microsoft.
If you’re not promoting in any capacity at Microsoft, don’t take the opportunity for too long. Your ability to grow seems just beginning.
Featured image: Primakov/Shutterstock