Microsoft, Shutterstock Deal Gives Brands Images For Ads

Microsoft advertisers in the United States and the United Kingdom now have free access to more than 320 million Shutterstock images in Microsoft Audience Ads, which supports native advertising across its network.

Haily De La Cruz, Sr. product manager at Microsoft Advertising, believes providing access to commercially licensed images for use in Microsoft Advertising campaigns will enable brands to create and deliver top performing ads.

This integration with Shutterstock lets advertisers browse, preview, license and create ads using commercially licensed images. This is the first application of Shutterstock's partnership with Microsoft Advertising. Expansion to other products and markets, including Canada and Australia, are expected in the fall.

Microsoft Advertising provides access to reporting for Microsoft Audience Ads at the ad group and campaign levels where advertisers can see the performance of their ads. The native ads run across the Microsoft Audience Network, which includes Microsoft owned and operated sites like MSN, and Microsoft Edge, and select premium partner properties such as CBS Sports, Everyday Health, Fox Business, the Atlantic, Apartment Therapy and Reuters, said Priscille Bouchez, product marketing manager for the Microsoft Audience Network. 

Consumers are spending more time at home online as companies choose to allow their employees to work from home. Many shoppers choose to buy online rather go into stores. Parents also are reading online about how to teach children from home, or searching for new recipes to make more dinners at home.

In fact, the average time spent per day with digital media continues to increase by nearly 12% this year, compared with 2019, with the average U.S. adult spending more than 7.5 hours online, according to an eMarketer forecast.

The images can aid businesses to run ads with diverse and inclusive visuals, such as images reflecting scenes from the consumer’s everyday life, images from specific regions, and images that connect with diverse and thoughtful people.

Microsoft advertisers can use this image library to craft different visual variations for native ads to fit different audiences, A/B test, or localize for a specific region to increase ad performance.

Advertisers can browse available stock images by typing in a relevant search related to the product, business, or ad campaign’s story. Advertisers can only use the creatives in ads and served from Microsoft Advertising, in its original, unaltered form.

How did the two companies come to an agreement? In 2019, Microsoft Advertising issued an RFP for creative content. Shutterstock responded and following a number of conversations around Microsoft Advertising’s content needs, Shutterstock proposed an API technology integration as the most seamless solution that would offer an optimal user experience. 

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