The recent flare-up/digital privacy food fight between Microsoft and Google (including full-page print ads from Microsoft) shouldn't distract from a key point: digital marketers like Google and Microsoft are basically doing the same things--despite whatever "spin" they place on it. Digital advertising is a global business whose business model for online data collection and profile-based targeting across all platforms are being engineered by Google, Microsoft and a few other leaders. Facebook's expansion of viral and peer to peer marketing has also shaped online data practices for social media.
Here's a description from Microsoft on its Ad Exchange. We think it's very telling regarding how it treats user privacy issues [our emphasis]: "The Microsoft Advertising Exchange enables you to target your story effectively, and help ensure the messages and audiences match. Our fully automated real-time bidding (RTB) marketplace means you can have real-time conversations with your audiences. Real-time purchase of each impression allows you to make an informed decision on its value, minimizing wastage and making your marketing budget work harder. You can also use data and insights to target your audience with great precision, helping you drive better return on investment and hit your marketing goals.
You can tell a unique story to each audience, and do it at scale, through our universe of quality audiences across the premiumenvironment of Windows Live, Hotmail and MSN. And we have significant plans to enhance this pool of quality inventory and audiences through partnerships with other premium publishers. Based on our open ecosystem approach, Microsoft Advertising Exchange enables you to work with your choice of partners, agencies, and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), and buy across PC and mobile screens. Take control as you use your own or third- party data to buy audiences that are right for your brand, via real-time bidding. This highly effective combination of quality audiences at scale and choice, plus pinpoint control, gives you the ingredients you need to tell your story to the right audiences, at the right time."
Meanwhile, such real-time bidding can also occur within Facebook using an outside app involving AppNexus (AppNexus works with Microsoft for RTB). "This represents the first opportunity for marketers to access social and RTB display sources side-by-side. The availability of Glow Machine in the AppNexus App Marketplace means users of AppNexus Console will have the option to join together cost and performance insights for a deeper understanding of the shared impact of social and display." See the pdf product info on its site for an illustration of its data targeting capabilities.