Greg Nelson - MSFT
Posted on 10/17/13

Improvements to ads in apps include audience data, better targeting options, consumer experiences and integration with Bing.

Last October at Advertising Week, we held a “coming out party” for the advertising opportunities available in Windows 8 – what we call ads in apps. Windows 8 was a reimagining of the Windows operating system and consumer experience; it was a bold statement of innovation for an era of highly mobile, touch-enabled, and always-on, always-connected computing. To borrow a phrase, it was a brand new world – for Microsoft Advertising as well as our customers. The ad opportunities we’ve created since then have been designed to deliver rich, brand-safe experiences that add value to consumers and increase engagement opportunities for marketers in new ways, only possible through Windows 8.

In the last 12 months, we have worked tirelessly with marketers and have learned quite a bit about what consumers want and don’t want when they are going about their “digital day.” As a result, by working together, we’ve been able to deliver stunning premium creative executions on Ads in Apps for Windows 8, that consumers are finding stylish and innovative, including campaigns in partnership with All Saints and Cadillac, to name just a couple. A few more of our best from around the world are here:


Now, with the release of Windows 8.1, we’re turning the page to the next chapter in the Windows 8 story. This chapter continues our commitment to creating innovative, consumer- focused advertising experiences that are beautiful, relevant and useful. Today we are introducing new audience insights, targeting options and a number of creative ad experiences that can be used in Windows 8.1 apps. Our goal is to provide marketers with innovative solutions for effective advertising that reach consumers where they are, responsibly, and in a manner that is consistent with the content environment the consumer happens to be in. The launch of Windows 8.1 brings us closer to that goal.

Here are some specifics:


For the first time, we’re releasing audience data about Windows 8 Ads in Apps. We’ve learned quite a bit from case studies and about the types of people using Windows 8, and their habits while they conduct in-app activities. For example, we’ve learned that our Windows 8 audience includes:

Game enthusiasts: They spend 5.54 hours a month on our suite of app network games in the US.

Skype lovers: In the US, people who use the Skype app spend an average of 41 minutes on the Skype app monthly. Forty-seven percent of people who use the Skype app consider themselves to be part of a “family” and 52 percent of Skype app users have children in the home.

Case study research has also been positive. In a recent case study we conducted with Toyota, we discovered that 54 percent of those consumers surveyed said that Toyotas ads in Windows 8 apps were an appropriate fit with their digital environment. Research also showed that Windows 8 helped deliver an ancillary “halo effect” for the Toyota brand.

So what does this mean for advertisers? It means that people are spending time doing the things they love, be it gaming or communicating with their families, within Windows 8 apps. The research also shows that ads within the Windows 8 app environment are seen as a good fit within the environment and have positive effects for our brands.


Over the past few months, our advertising customers have said they would like to have better targeting capabilities on Windows 8. Based on that feedback, we’re enabling robust demographic and behavioral targeting on Windows 8.1.

This means that advertisers can better target their audience across the entire Ads in Apps environment, which includes Microsoft owned and operated inventory such as Bing Apps (Sports, News, Finance and Weather), the Skype app, and the Xbox Windows 8 app. In addition, any app that uses the Microsoft Advertising SDKcan now better utilize our targeting capabilities. The information that Microsoft is able to utilize will help advertisers better reach consumers on Windows 8, based on interests they might have, such as sports, entertainment, autos and financial services.

We believe ad personalization will not only drive better results for our advertisers, but also benefit customers, who will now see ads that are more useful and relevant to their daily lives – ads that help them get things done.

Because we also strongly believe in providing choice to consumers about their advertising preferences, people can opt-out of personalized advertising from Microsoft at any time by visiting:   


In addition to audience data and ad targeting capabilities, we’re releasing a number of new ad experiences for Ads in Apps for Windows 8.1, including In-Banner Video.Now, advertisers will be able to incorporate video into their ads, telling a much richer story than ever before. What consumers will specifically see is a :15 video within several standard IAB ad units. Consumers can then choose to turn on the sound, play it in Full Screen, or go directly to the advertiser’s website to learn more about the product offering.

In Banner Video

Another new experience is called “The Trace.”It is an ad experience designed around the unique touch capabilities of Windows 8.1. Through embedded connection points, users can “trace” an identified element within the creative, which unlocks a rich and immersive experience for consumers.


One example, for instance, is above, where a person could trace a circle to unlock a new product video. Another example might be the McDonald’s Arch, in which the user traces the arch to open a coupon for a free sandwich. In preliminary consumer testing, this level of interactivity resulted in a favorable association with the brand.

We are also introducing Video Ad Controls, which give advertisers the option to layer engagement elements within our Full Screen Video Product. As you can see in this image below, the example of the video ”play button” helps advertisers provide more depth to our most popular format and helps advertisers provide value to consumers.



This added depth to the video offering enriches the consumer experience by providing context and engagement within the video. Through the addition of Video Ad Controls, advertisers can provide more dimensions to their video experience and provide multiple calls to action. Advertisers can now include Photo Galleries, Rotator, Polling, Bing Locator (US only), and icons to link to their Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter brand pages.

Next is Animated Anchors, which give advertisers the ability to have subtle animations on their ads within their Windows 8.1 apps before the consumer clicks on the ad. These animations help advertisers more effectively capture the attention and imagination of consumers, and should lead to added clicks and better engagement overall.

Finally, we are introducing our AIA Web Extension technology,designed to help the creative community extend what they have created for Windows 8 AIA to common IAB web display formats. We will be offering this on all current AIA formats including Tap to Image, Tap to Video, Hotspots and Gallery.


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the new Search Ad Experiences within Windows 8.1 with Smart Search. As my colleague David Pann shared over the summer now in Windows 8.1, with one search, consumers can look for information across the web, device, apps and cloud. Bing Ads are an integral part of this experience and will help people find relevant information to help them get things done. When an advertiser makes a buy on Bing Ads, their search ads will be eligible to be shown within the web search results of Smart Search with no additional set-up.

These ads only appear when a person searches the internet for results via Smart Search. The ads are based on keywords the consumer enters into the Search Box, just like when a person searches on and other web search engines. Ads are not served based on information, files or content stored on your device.We are making this decision to make it simpler for people to search to web when using Windows 8.1.

We will continue to push forward to innovate and make Windows 8.1 not only a wonderful consumer experience, but also one that benefits our advertisers and publishing partners.

Please let us know what you think!


Greg Nelson

Tags: advertising, featured, Featured Post, msa news, msanews, Windows 8 Ads in Apps
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