Microsoft Upgrades RTB Exchange, Adds Mobile, Windows 8 Inventory

Following through on its promise from last fall to up its game in the mobile programmatic space, Microsoft on Tuesday announced the addition of Windows 8 Ads-in-Apps and Windows Phone mobile inventory to the Microsoft Advertising Exchange. The inventory will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the U.S.

Microsoft has spent the past 10 months growing its exchange by entering new marketers -- it’s up to 37 now, according to Microsoft’s Display Monetization and Yield Analytics Director, Esco Strong -- and is now focused on making the exchange more suitable for today’s cross-screen advertisers. The exchange now features inventory from Skype, Outlook, MSN, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone apps.

Strong told Real-Time Daily that Microsoft has had a mobile exchange, but that it had been “pretty limited in scale and functionality.” The company hopes that changes as a result of the upcoming influx of mobile inventory that will be available for real-time bidding (RTB) via the Microsoft Exchange, starting with third-party app inventory (available Tuesday). Microsoft will add inventory from its owned and operated apps in early October and plans to include inventory from the mobile Web by mid-October.

Strong wouldn’t reveal number detailing how much mobile inventory the Microsoft Ad Exchange will now house, but asserted that it is “significant, both within the competitive landscape” and in comparison to what had previously been available through their exchange.

Any inventory from a device running Windows 8 -- be it desktop, tablet or smartphone, or a mix of all three -- will be available through the Microsoft Ad Exchange; Strong said Microsoft wanted to let buyers do cross-screen targeting.

“We’re very bullish on programmatic advertising,” said Strong. “We have a lot of different things that we want to surface through [programmatic] and are making a lot of investments in a lot of different methods.”

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