Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

February 27, 2007 17:00 ET

Canadian Launch of Microsoft adCenter Helps Turn Clicks Into Connections for Search Advertisers

Higher conversion rates than Google and Yahoo(i) give Canadian advertisers a compelling new option

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 28, 2007) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release is available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

Microsoft Canada Co. today announced the availability of Microsoft adCenter, Microsoft Corporation's new platform for Canadian advertisers. Microsoft adCenter is, now serving 100 per cent of paid search advertising traffic from Sympatico / MSN and Live.ca.

A compelling alternative to search competitors Google and Yahoo, results from a recent U.S. study performed by Compete, Inc. shows that Live Search is converting searchers into customers at a higher rate than Google and Yahoo! across the retail, consumer electronics and travel categories. The new platform is helping advertisers more strategically plan their pay-per-click campaigns, and is designed to help them gain a higher return on investment by utilizing real audience intelligence and advanced targeting capabilities.

"We are very encouraged by the results of our campaign during the adCenter pilot," said Adam Hadley, e-Marketing Manager, World Vision Canada. "Since we began using Microsoft adCenter two months ago, our conversion rates have been better with adCenter than any other major search engine, increasing to 6.9 per cent conversions with adCenter in comparison to 0.6 to 1.1 per cent conversions with Google."

One of the key benefits of the adCenter platform for Canadian advertisers is its integration with Microsoft's Passport/Live ID system. Rich demographic profiles of searchers are available from a variety of data sources, including the more than 19.4 million users of Canadian Sympatico / MSN, 17.2 million users of Hotmail and 14.2 users of Windows Live Messenger. (December 2006, ComScore Media Metrix).

The Microsoft adCenter service is also currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Singapore.

"Microsoft adCenter is fundamental to the Windows Live strategy by providing advertisers with a more targeted audience that uses a variety of Microsoft online digital services," said Blake Irving, Corporate Vice President, Windows Live Platform Group. "Microsoft is committed to expanding into the digital advertising market by providing advertisers with best-of-breed solutions across the Windows Live platform."

While initially offering a targeted search opportunity, Microsoft adCenter is designed to ultimately provide advertisers with a one-stop-shop experience, whether buying search, contextual or display ads, across a number of Microsoft properties. The suite's bank of audience intelligence, targeting tools and post-sales reporting techniques are giving Canadian advertisers the edge they require to launch ROI-focused campaigns that turn clicks into connections.

"By providing Canadian advertisers with access to audience intelligence and advanced reporting tools, we expect adCenter to make a significant impact in the Canadian market," said Ken Headrick, Director of Marketing, Microsoft Canada, Online Services Group. "With advanced demographic targeting and access to more than 58 per cent of the Canadian population via Sympatico.MSN.ca, advertisers now have the bandwidth needed to launch integrated campaigns with superior conversion rates."

The main new features of Microsoft adCenter are:

- Audience Profiler - provides advertisers with the profile of who has searched previously on specific keywords, enabling advertisers to fine tune a search marketing campaign against the very platform it's operating on. This will ensure it's as relevant to the target audience as it can be, thus driving response rates - and ultimately ROI - for the advertiser.

- Bid Boosting: allows advertisers to increase their bid and elevate the search term by targeting their ideal customer based on rich audience intelligence.

- Keyword Suggestion Tool - helps advertisers optimize their campaign based on the traffic generated by specific keywords on MSN in the past month.

- Site Analyzer - provides advertisers with keywords relevant to their site, not based on what the advertiser 'thinks' the user is looking for.

- Cost Estimator - helps advertisers remain within their budget by estimating rank, traffic and cost per month and per keyword. With this tool, an advertiser knows where they're going to appear on the page, how often, and the level of investment by keyword needed to achieve this.

- Campaign Optimization - allows advertisers to respond quickly and decisively throughout the campaign to easily refine budget allocations and keywords, as well as apply targeting filters such as geographic, demographic and day parting.

- Post Sales Audience Intelligence & Reporting - provides advertisers with detailed reports on campaign performance and audiences reached, including click-through rates, estimated position and spending levels and conversion.

- Security - adCenter gives each customer access to multiple user accounts and set unique permissions so an advertiser can control who has access to which accounts, ensuring that only authorized people can see data and change the parameters of a campaign.

More information is available at: http://adcentercanada.ca/en/default.aspx

(i)Source: Competeinc Search Performance Dashboards Study, March 2006 finds that Live Search is converting searches into customers at a higher rate than Google and Yahoo! across the retail, consumer electronics and travel categories.

About Sympatico / MSN and Windows Live™

Sympatico.MSN.ca. is Canada's most popular online destination, attracting more than 19 million Canadians each month. Offered in collaboration with Bell Canada, it is an online leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and advertising opportunities to Canadian businesses. Windows Live, a set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features. Services include Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, Live Search, Windows Live Mail (currently in beta alongside MSN Hotmail®), Windows Live for Mobile and Windows Live OneCare. Sympatico.MSN.ca and Windows Live are offered as complementary services and are available at sympatico.msn.ca. Beta services are available at ideas.live.com.

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