Microsoft Expands Axel Springer Partnership In AI And Ad Services Deal

Microsoft revealed several insights and some news on an expanded partnership with Axel Springer to help the European digital publisher accelerate growth in artificial intelligence (AI) across its publications.

Monday’s announcement describes how Axel Springer will adopt Microsoft Advertising as its ad server, expanding an existing partnership from Europe to the U.S. 

Multimedia ads have seen triple the click-through rates compared with traditional search engine results pages as the momentum in which consumers engage with publishers and ecommerce sites continue to increase, according to Microsoft. 

The pace is being accelerated by the implementation of AI because consumers can find information to make those decisions more rapidly. Microsoft said AI is reducing the time to purchase from nearly 30 days to a little more than 20 when Microsoft Copilot is used.



One of Axel Springer’s online publications, Politico, will integrate technology from Microsoft Advertising to support the ad-tech management and optimization layer AdLib. It also will integrate with Microsoft Advertising Network to enable advertisers to reach a broader audience.

The announcement comes several days after Microsoft reported strong earnings for the first quarter of 2024, all based on growth in AI. 

Axel Springer’s partnership with Microsoft supports a pilot of an AI-driven chat experiences to better inform and engage users with the publisher’s journalistic content. The goal is to fuel Axel Springer’s projects in AI, building on projects such as the AI assistant Hey, powered by Azure OpenAI Service. Projects also are in the works to use Microsoft Advertising’s Chat Ads API for generative AI monetization.

The publisher, which plans to migrate its platforms to Microsoft Azure and cloud services, also will provide expanded access through Microsoft Start/MSN  to content across Business Insider, Politico, BILD and WELT. It also will use Microsoft Azure OpenAI provisioned throughput units (PTUs) to scale on their B2C GAI content.

Axel Springer it not the only publisher leveraging Microsoft. Other companies include Snapchat, and Baidu.

These companies leverage Microsoft Advertising’s Chat Ads API to monetize their own chat experience through advertising while allowing media buyers to reach a high-value audience demographic with personalized content.

Microsoft also announced a new Chat Ads API partner, Direqt, as the first built exclusively for publishers.

About 90 publishers are using Direqt to power chat experiences that reach more than 270 million users through Direqt’s chatbot discovery network that generate more than 3 billion page views monthly and reach more than 300 million unique users across their properties. Its chatbot distribution network reaches more than 260 million across various text messaging apps, social media apps, and chatbot discovery platforms.

Microsoft said it will soon unveil insights to help advertisers tackle reporting more quickly. For example, in a few weeks, the company will begin piloting the ability to summarize the performance of a specified campaign directly from conversational chat. Alt text: Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform conversational chat answering a campaign performance summary question.

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