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Microsoft Shows Off New Smart Web Ads

12:47 pm on Feb 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft Corp.'s online advertising researchers will spend this year teaching computers to be smart about sticking ads into video clips, and to be even smarter about targeting ads to specific Web surfers.

Microsoft showed off a handful of early-stage advertising projects at its headquarters Tuesday that may or may not turn up as part of Microsoft's Web advertising platform.

One crunched a clip, looking for the most appropriate stretch of time and spot on the screen for an advertiser's 'bug,' or logo. For example, if a car company wanted to show its logo for 10 seconds in the bottom-right-hand corner of the screen, the computer program would find the 10 seconds in which the logo interferes least with the action in the video.

Microsoft Shows Off New Smart Web Ads [forbes.com]

1:12 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Interesting. They are really trying to beef up their display advertising options. A marriage with Yahoo still looks like a good option for Microsoft to me.
7:07 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The company showed a dashboard advertisers could use to forecast the success of certain keyword advertising campaigns and a system it says will make it easier for advertisers think about key ideas, rather than hundreds of individual keywords.

Interesting... This might cause a shift in the way PPC works. This would make PPC campaigns more accessible to business people who normally get lost in the current granulation. I think they might really be on to something here.

They also mentioned a method they are looking at that would analyze what's being spoken in videos and place "bugs" appropriate to the conversation. Just think of advertising like that on one of the major video sites now! Also, this could be huge if it spreads off the internet and onto TV.

Speaking of integration into TV, I found THIS really interesting:

The third program scanned a video for surfaces where ads or product images could be inserted later.

That technology would be awesome for TV. Just think, the actor has a kitchen appliance from Company X on their counter for the season premiere and then Company Y appears in the re-runs. The possibilities are pretty exciting. Maybe that would bridge the gap between the internet and TV if they ran a PPD (pay per display) type campaign for advertisers in their PPC system.

With the growing number of digital video recorders out there, fewer commercials are being watched. I record TV now instead of watching it live so I can skip the commercials.

8:47 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This has the potential to be horribly invasive.

Is this all done on your PC, or does it phone-home what it discovers about your habits?

In order to check activity outside of the browser, this is going to require the user to install a plugin with special permissions. Silverlight? Over my dead body will Silverlight go on any machine I own.

I hate Microsoft's use of .net plugins. Unfortunately, they are increasingly needed to access Microsoft services. Who knows what they are doing?

Bad timing. Check Slashdot today on Facebook giving partners inappropriate personal details:


Researchers from the University of Virginia recently announced that in a study of the top 150 Facebook applications, more than 90% were given access to information that was not needed to function correctly. That Scrabble or Superpoke application you really like? Its developers get access to your religion, sexuality and home town.

Goona backfire.

4:03 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Interesting point Mike, Company A in the original could no longer exist, or perhaps they were purchased by Company B, or maybe Company C just comes along and is willing to pay more, contracts could expire in a similar to console games and exclusive content. Imagine an Indy Film that was not able to get/afford much in the way of advertising/sponsers but the movie becomes a cult hit, then BAM! money comes knocking at thier door.. sweet!

Of course this technology has some interesting privacy concerns as well, 'audience intelligence' seems pretty ominous, and what happens if they cant find any 'audience intelligence', then what?

Still its interesting to see MS doing something faily innovative, wonder why this wasn't posted on Slashdot.. lol

4:32 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Technology is truly amazing! Although I hate advertising, I know that it's a necessary evil. It's just really neat to see new innovations.
12:11 pm on Feb 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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As MS is determined, they are going to be a big factor in online ads soon. Sure!