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Microsoft unveils preview of ‘transformed’ MSN with viewability-based advertising opportunities

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By Jessica Davies, News Editor

September 8, 2014 | 3 min read

Microsoft has unveiled a preview of its overhauled MSN product, which once out of beta will see advertisers billed only when adverts are deemed ‘in view’.

The tech giant has struck over 1,000 media partnerships with brands including Sky News, the Guardian and Wall Street Journal, as it looks to become the go-to hub for premium content across all platforms devices, and verticals including sports and news.

The site will remain in beta until 1 October, and advertiser launch partners will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The new platform has been designed to simplify the currently fragmented media landscape by uniting content in one place, and making the new MSN accessible across all Android and iOS platforms.

MSN regional director Steve Lynas told The Drum the relaunch marks a “major transformation” for the company. “The new Microsoft policy is to allow people to do more and access more, and this is a very extensive project which brings together Bing and MSN…it’s a better product [than its predecessor].

The overhauled MSN will open up new opportunities for advertisers who will only pay for impressions once Microsoft can guarantee they have been seen by consumers.

General manager for Microsoft Advertising and Online UK, Owen Sagness, told The Drum the company has “put a stake in the ground” with the new viewability-based advertising opportunities on MSN.

“Viewability is a huge trend and ongoing issue in the industry so with the new MSN advertisers will only pay for ads that consumers actually see, which vastly improves the ROI. It’s not the first time we have done this but it’s putting a stake in the ground and saying we are taking into account this massive new trend in the industry – it’s a huge value proposition.”

He added that the new reader experience will be more streamlined and consistent with the new product, which will also enable advertiser to create better stories across devices, web and apps.

“We also have our creative sequencing capabilities that are built into the new MSN so brands can tell stories in right way and sequence across all those devices,” said Sagness.

The site has also been designed with more personalisation built in, with visitors now able to curate shopping lists, flight status and savings calculators. They can also access sites including Outlook.com, Facebook, Twitter, OneNote, OneDrive, with Skype to be integrated imminently.

Meanwhile all Bing apps have now been rebranded as MSN apps.

Microsoft currently has an online audience of 425 million people across 55 markets, and has also signed media partnerships with the Independent, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Asahi Shimbun in Japan NDTV and Hindustan Times in India, Le Figaro and Le Monde in France, and Lance and Estadão in Brazil.

Content will span 10 verticals including sport, news, health and fitness, money, travel and video. Information also includes statistics on over 200 global sports leagues, reviews of over 1.5 million bottles of wine, and 300,000 recipes.

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