Microsoft Expands Data Targeting Across Platform, inc. use of offline data

Microsoft likes to suggest its concerned about consumer privacy.  Yet because they are in the digital marketing business worldwide, they are engaged in the full range of data collection and targeting practices which are problematic to both privacy and consumer protection.  Note how they are tapping into powerful offline databases, using Windows ID log-in information, and targeting cross-platform.  Microsoft will need to do a much better job on privacy.
Via Online Media DailyMicrosoft is working to target ads across computers, mobile and television, bringing in offline data from multiple sources. The company already has consumer product goods data -- and now it will look to add more, such as television. James Colborn, director of the targeting and exchange team, U.S. Sales at Microsoft, told MediaPost that is the company focus for 2012. He spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show.

"This year, the goal becomes not only growing the concept of audience targeting, but doing it with multiple variables by looking at the target audience and location."

A Windows Live ID login allows Microsoft to pull data from multiple sources to target ads across three screens. The data is linked through the ID when consumers sign up for Microsoft's mail, messenger or other services. The data is culled from Xbox 360, Bing search queries, activities based on experience data, and now offline data from companies such as comScore, Acxiom and Experian.

The evolution of how advertisers engage with consumers on these devices will continue to evolve and differ, Colborn said. But brands looking for a specific audience typically want to target the same audience on desktop, mobile, TV and Xbox.

On Xbox, the ads appear in an environment that does not allow consumers to easily click through to a landing page -- unlike the PC, where the ability to click through ads to make purchases is easier. On mobile devices, brands may want to think about the potential of immediacy and location.

Multiple media will make it more important for advertisers to focus on messages and sequences -- the order in which the ads will appear. Even if consumers first viewed the ad on a mobile phone, serving the ad on the desktop might give the consumer more time to make the decision to purchase the product.

The sequence in which the ads appear will become more important because of media's diversity and the need to connect the three screens, Colborn said.