With the completion of its acquisition of aQuantive, Microsoft has added another key element to its online portfolio, which includes in-game ad firm Massive,
MSN.com and Windows Live services. In this article, The Seattle Times looks at the business potential for Massive, for which Microsoft is developing an ad placement and billing system to incorporate it into all of its online units, as well as third-party sites.
A study by Microsoft unit Atlas (formerly part of aQuantive) found that users who clicked on keyword ads associated with high-profile brands were already intending to visit those sites. The research suggests that some of the most expensive search terms may not be delivering new customers.
Although some doubt the Web will ever completely supplant TV's primacy, top marketers increasingly are creating interactive Web video ads to combat users' avoidance of the traditional TV spot. "The Web site is replacing the 30 as the central expression of a brand," according to former aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews, now an executive at Microsoft Corp.
Some marketers looking to tap the vast and growing audience of social-network users are increasingly looking to the medium as a customer relations management tool as opposed to a vehicle for display advertising and branding campaigns.