Microsoft Audience Network Launches, Supported By Bing Ads, LinkedIn Data

Microsoft took the first step to integrate data from its LinkedIn acquisition into a new advertising platform that launched Thursday. Microsoft Audience Network, a platform powered by artificial intelligence focused on audience segments, aims to help businesses connect to consumers showing interest in specific topics throughout their buying journey across search, web and apps.

The new advertising option, built on the Bing Ads platform, goes beyond the search engine page and enables marketers to extend their media buys into other Microsoft owned and operated assets such as Edge, MSN and Outlook using data from services such as LinkedIn, according to Steve Sirich, general manager of Bing search ads at Microsoft.

This service -- a performance auction based on a cost per click -- is the first to integrate LinkedIn data into the platform to assist in reaching the correct targeted consumer with the ideal message. It combines “tens of billions of intent signals” -- as well as LinkedIn data and continuous signals from Microsoft’s massive consumer online services -- to power the new audience marketing solution. It also taps one of Microsoft’s largest AI initiatives -- Bing.

“It’s a first foray for Microsoft Advertising where we’re beginning to use, as part of the Microsoft Graph, the profile data from LinkedIn,” Sirich said. “The profile data is around professional experience, industry and company.”

For marketers, it’s no longer about optimizing a media spend by channel but rather understanding customers and their interests and preferences through data and other intent signals, and integrating it with the Microsoft Graph.

Kohls, Lending Tree and HomeAdvisor are among the companies adopting the Microsoft Audience Network ads in beta and seeing early results in line with expectations. The service is available today in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, with more markets to follow shortly.

Microsoft Audience Network sits within the Microsoft Consumer Business unit, along with Bing Ads, and other offerings related to advertising. The Bing Ads user interface will enable marketers to see performance across Audience Network and other Microsoft platforms.

Microsoft’s search advertising business brings in nearly $7 billion annually, with the more than half a million active advertisers using the global Bing Ads platform in multiple languages.

New data from Microsoft also estimates that Bing reaches 63 million total PC searchers who are not searching on Google. About 51 million searches are related to the retail industry, and 35 million in finance and business.

While mobile remains a growing media, 77% of retail e-commerce still occurs on PCs, which have a 52% higher conversion rate, Cady Condyles, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, told MediaPost Search Insider Summit attendees last week in Captiva, Florida.  

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