Windows 8 announces global and Canadian desktop advertisers

November 02, 2012  |  Jeromy Lloyd  |  Comments

Quick on the heels of Windows 8′s grand unveiling, Microsoft Advertising has announced a series of global and regional advertising partners who will lead the charge onto the desktop.

Nissan and 20th Century Fox have launched global campaigns that put touch-enabled interactive ads in front of Windows 8 users through various apps that come with the system.

Windows 8 allows users to download apps, although some apps come packaged with the software such as news, weather and sports apps.

Nissan’s ads will run in the Bing and XBox apps, while 20th Century Fox will market its new film Life of Pi through the Smartglass and Casual Games apps.

“The new Windows 8 platform allows us to reach a worldwide audience of people interacting with innovative technologies,” said DeLu Jackson, general manger of global digital strategy for Nissan, in a statement.

What exactly that large audience is comprised of has yet to be determined. Windows 8 has only been available widely since Oct. 26, and detailed audience data has not been collected yet. “As the base of Windows 8 scales, we’ll have much better data on segmentation, demographics or other ways of segmenting,” said Owen Sagness, vice-president and general manager of advertising and online, Microsoft.

However, advertisers in Canada—including General Motors‘ Cadillac brand, Rogers Communications, Scotiabank and WestJet—have signed similar agreements. The Cadillac and WestJet programs are currently in-market.

Joe Strolz, vice-president of Microsoft Advertising, said one of the benefits of buying ad real estate on Windows 8 is cross-platform versatility. Because the OS works across different devices, the ad technology is aware of which device ads are being served to, and customizes them for the best fit on that screen.

Microsoft’s Ads in Apps program marks the first time an operating system has made third-party advertising available on a desktop interface. While branded or ad-supported products have long been available for users to download to home computers, Windows 8 users will see ads displayed as part of an out-of-the-box operating system—the core computer interaction for desktop users.

How will consumers react to this? Microsoft is promoting research conducted by Metrix Lab that reports “39% [of users polled] are happy to see advertising within the Windows 8 environment,” 49% said “advertising in Windows 8 is appropriate to the environment,” and 41% said they were “comfortable with brands being involved in this way.”

Sagness said Microsoft conducted usability testing among consumers to see whether advertising—and what kind of advertising—enhanced or took away from the user experience. “Whatever we do on the advertising side has to [enhance] the consumer experience,” he said, adding that Microsoft will strive to make sure advertising in this venue is both “engaging and relevant.”

“Contextual relevance is what we’re looking for—sport products around sport content, entertainment ads in entertainment content,” Sagness said. “Globally, we’re working with a relatively small number for brands, about 300 brands at this stage, that we know resonate very well. We’re being very careful about the type of ads we accept, the creative that goes with those ads.”

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