In our last blog, we discussed how MSN and Hotmail are the most used search and e-mail platforms by international users. But it isn’t just international users who are Hot for Hotmail! According to Microsoft Advertising, as of January 2011, Microsoft, MSN, Windows Live and MSN Media Network reached “92.3% of the online audience in the U.S.”

But do you want to know the next best thing about MSN and Hotmail? MSN, Windows Live Mail, and Hotmail e-mail are all supported via content-based advertising through AdCenter. Through content advertising, your ads are not only showing on two powerful search engines (Bing and Yahoo!), but in the MSN e-mail pages as well. The content ads through AdCenter appear in the Hotmail e-mail pages, just as ads appear at the top and right side bar in Gmail. One thing to keep in mind with Hotmail advertising is that most of the ads are for insurance, telephone services, and technology. So, if you are involved any of these industries, your advertisement has a high chance of appearing to the e-mailers.  However, if you type something into the Hotmail search bar, a related service should appear for the search query. Take my Hotmail account for example.

When I entered “telephone” in the Hotmail search bar, an advertisement for U.S. Cellular appears on the right hand side of the screen.

This screenshot from my Hotmail account shows a U.S. Cellular display advertisement in accordance with my “telephone” search query.

 

So, why should we care about advertising through AdCenter? Because Hotmail is enhancing their advertisements to create a better user experience as opposed to increasing ad revenue.  As you can see from the screenshot above, the U.S. Cellular advertisement is offering a deal. In short,  Microsoft wants to create a great product, not just publish ads. So, this may hurt your ad revenue in the short term, but in the long term the publicity could be outstanding for your business. MSN is going head-to-head with Google whose Gmail bombards you with advertisements that focus solely on the sale, not the user experience.  With Hotmail, the deals show the user that their advertisements are aligned with the users’ interests, and all users want to know that they are being considered as actual human beings, and not just profit for a company.

But that is not all! AdCenter has also applied new updates to their services so SEM teams can better manage their advertising campaigns.

Some of the changes to AdCenter, according to Microsoft Advertising, include:

  • Improved Ad Targeting
    • Can now target to tablets and smartphones
  • Improved Impression Share Volume
    • Impression share lost to budget
    • Impression share lost to rank
    • Impression share lost to other factors

AdCenter is stepping up their game, and they are making it easier for SEM teams to manage their accounts while providing more insight into user behavior.

We should never forget that MSN and Hotmail are still hot throughout the world. Although Hotmail and MSN are not the most popular platforms in the United States, MSN still has 45.5 million users throughout the nation.  Luckily, here at BFO, we have an SEM team of AdCenter and AdWords experts. If you would like some insight and guidance into the world of International SEM and these advertising platforms, give us a call today!