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Microsoft rolls out first bid-based mobile ad exchange

Microsoft has launched what it claims is the first bidded ad exchange in mobile to give media buyers more control over their campaigns.

The company has also launched a mobile advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. The Microsoft Advertising Exchange and the new SDK are designed to enable display ad serving for Windows Phone 7 applications.

"Microsoft?s mobile ad exchange is designed to work directly with demand side platforms (DSPs), so that for the very first time advertisers will be able to place automated bids on mobile ad inventory at the exact moment when an impression is served," said Jamie Wells, director of global trade marketing at Microsoft Mobile Advertising, Redmond, WA.

"This means that buyers will have the tightest possible control over thier mobile ad campaigns - where thier ads will appear, in which apps, when and to whom," he said. "In general, real-time bidding is where much of the ad industry is headed, and bringing this model to mobile is just the kind of game-changing move that will propel mobile advertising to the next level. 

"This is a tremendous leap forward in how mobile advertising is bought and sold, a real innovation that?s a true win-win for both advertisers and developers."

Specific capabilities of the Mobile Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7 include demographic, category, carrier and location targeting.

Advertisers have the choice of text and image units, click to call and click to Web ad actions.

Microsoft will provide reporting on in-appliaction ad revenue, ad inventory, clicks, CPM and sell-through rate.

The real-time, bidded mobile ad exchange enables multiple ad networks to bid on mobile inventory at the exact moment when an impression is served, increasing yield and reducing waste.

Ad networks on board
Several third-party mobile ad networks, including Millennial Media, Where, InMobi and MobClix, are working closely with Microsoft engineers so that they will have completed their technical integration and be able to participate in the exchange by the consumer launch of Windows Phone 7.

WPP Group?s global media investment management operation GroupM launched what it claims is the first demand-side platform for mobile media and advertising last week (see story). 

Microsoft?s monetization service enables high fill rates and eCPM for mobile developers.

Developers can also get started quickly with an easy-to-use, self-serve sign-up process.

Here are a few examples that demonstrate how developers can shorten their application development time and simplify inclusion of ads in their apps:

? Enable ads in mobile applications with ?zero lines of code? using a test mode that requires no on boarding or account login

? Easy integration of ad control with trusted developer tools (e.g. Visual Studio 2010)

? Provide developers with tools that make it easy for developers to track the performance of mobile apps (e.g. impressions, revenue generated)

"Core to our approach to launching ads in apps for Windows Phone has been our focus on nailing the fundamentals, and making sure that what we?re delivering is truly important to advertisers," Mr. Wells said.

"That?s why we?ve built our solution to work with standard online third party ad serving systems like DoubleClick DART and Atlas from day one ? so you?ll buyers will have nearly all the creative control, optimization options and independent verification of ad delivery and performance that they currently enjoy when executing online campaigns," he said.  

"From there we?ve layered in what we believe to be the best ad targeting features in mobile, moving beyond location and demo targeting to also include our behavioral targeting solution that leverages consumer insights collected across PC Web content consumption, Bing search queries, Xbox live data and more to inform over 120 core behavioral segments."