Ashley Highfield, Managing Director and VP of Consumer and Online for Microsoft in the UK, took to the podium at ad:tech London 2010 earlier today. Below is a summary of some of the key topics he addressed…
Microsoft is Transforming!
Microsoft is traditionally best known for software products such as Office and the Windows operating system. Increasingly Microsoft is transforming as a business and is now looking to the future of consumer and business facing Cloud Services which can be monetised through digital adverting across many platforms and screens.
Gaming is Where It’s At!
Xbox Live in-game advertising is the fastest growing area of Microsoft Advertising’s portfolio in 2010, despite coming from a small base?
Why? This is because people are more immersed in a gaming environment than other forms of media; if you look away from the screen you may get shot, fall off your skateboard or even crash your car! With the launch of Xbox Kinect later in the year, in-game advertising is going to have infinitely more possibilities.
Traditional Media + Digital Marketing = More Engaged Audiences
Marketers and brands are starting to realise the potential of evolving technologies and are now shifting budgets from traditional forms of media such as TV and radio to digital.
The marketing industry is now seeing many more instances of traditional media working together with digital. A recent Microsoft Advertising case study showed a 53% uplift of brand recall when using a mix of TV and premium online video. 69% of multi-screen users (PC, TV & Mobile) rated content more favourable, relevant and engaging over multiple screen touch-points.
Customer Research + Tailored Content = High Customer Engagement
· Schwartz: partnered with MSN UK to create the Schwartz Spice Channel in February 2010. In-depth research was conducted to understand the needs and preoccupations of Schwartz’s intended target audience of busy mums in the 25 – 35 age group. Research found that fashion, health and home-style was the biggest draws for this group. One article alone captured the mood of the intended audience perfectly (Food to Increase Metabolism) which generated over 8,000 page impressions alone, outstripping all of Schwartz expectations of what digital could do!
· Panasonic Lumix: similar to Schwartz, the MSN team partnered with Panasonic to promote the functionality of their new Lumix range of digital cameras. Over a period of 10 months the MSN editorial team put the Lumix cameras through their paces at many editorial events such as Chinese New Year Celebrations, and the London Elephant Parade. By employing the latest innovative technology from Microsoft such as Silverlight Deep-zoom and Photosynth to create a more immersive and engaging audience experience.
Richer and Faster Web Experiences
IE9 Beta launched September 2010 and is dramatically faster than any other browser in the market today because it employs the graphic chip on PCs to render and boost graphic capability. This means richer graphic and video content in full HD quality as standard! IE9 Beta is a step-change in browser capability and will revolutionise what can be achieved on the web.
Bing Search and the Yahoo! & Microsoft Search Alliance
Bing is a hyper-contextual form of search helping people complete searches and transactions faster. Be it sifting through Premiership footballer stats or figuring out what is the best value digital camera for your money, Bing Visual Search will get you there faster!
With the announcement that the UK Yahoo! & Microsoft Search Alliance is due to complete in early 2011. Bing and “Yahoo! Powered by Bing” are looking at a combined UK market share of 10%. A greater market share is a really exciting prospect and it’s a game-changer because it leads to greater innovation between our two companies.
Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7 and mobile search are the next big opportunity for Microsoft and our partners. Stats on US mobile phone searches are already indicating a positive boost to the Yahoo! & Microsoft Search Alliance by helping to take joint share to 30%, due to rich content that can now be used on Windows Phones such as maps and apps.
In conclusion: ‘Minority Report World’ is Reality Today
When the futuristic cop thriller Minority Report starring Tom Cruise hit the cinemas in 2002 everyone who saw the movie was impressed by the film’s forward-thinking take on future technology. What especially amazed audiences was the way in which Tom magically interacted with digital information; for example when he walked past a billboard and it knew what exactly to market to him.
The future is indeed here! Microsoft in partnership with Dell and various other providers have now developed the technology to make this reality in shopping malls across the US. Quoting the Microsoft Advertising slogan: “You dream it. We deliver it.”