- Microsoft has rolled out a new product, Microsoft Advertising Network for retailers, designed to help retailers quickly launch their own — or enhance their existing — retail media networks, according to a company announcement.
- The platform enables businesses to set up and run their own retail media programs by providing access to Microsoft’s existing demand, ad-supply and audience of high-intent shoppers. The product is currently available in the U.S.
- Between its Bing search engine, Edge browser and publishing partners including Yahoo and the New York Times, Microsoft claims its advertising network offers access to more than one billion users, who spend 22% more than the average internet user.
Retail media networks have been one of the top growth areas for marketing in 2023. However, creating a successful media program through a private marketplace can be time-consuming and expensive for retailers. Such programs require digital advertising know-how, building technology and enlisting teams across departments to develop, onboard and grow the program, which can take months or even years. Microsoft’s new platform enables retailers to integrate with the company’s existing Microsoft Advertising Network, and brands can promote their products across a range of retail partner websites. The result is incremental increases in sales and media revenue for retailers.
“We have deep learning of the retailer experience across Microsoft, so with Microsoft Advertising Network for retail, we minimized the efforts for retailers of all sizes to begin immediately generating retail media revenue and increasing their onsite sales,” said Paul Longo, Microsoft’s global head of retail media sales, in a post on the company’s blog.
The offering also addresses one of the challenges with the retail media channel, per Microsoft. As the number of retailers with their own private media marketplaces proliferates, this creates a fragmented space, with some advertisers potentially reluctant to funnel resources and investments into so many different networks. By providing access to the Microsoft Advertising Network through its new offering, the company says it can remove these blockers so retailers can scale their businesses quickly.
Earlier this year, GroupM estimated the retail media networks would reach $101 billion in revenue in 2023, representing 18% of all global digital advertising spending. The agency further estimated the channel would grow by 60% by 2027. The growth trajectory reflects how the channel can reach consumers at the point of consideration and provide a new revenue stream through contextual placements for brand partners across a retailer’s online properties. As a result of these opportunities, a growing number of retailers are following in the footsteps of early movers like Amazon and Walmart and launching their own retail media networks.
Microsoft could further build out the offering with key partnerships. Already, it has enlisted performance marketing firm Tinuiti as a premier launch partner for the Microsoft Advertising Network for retail. In addition, omnichannel marketing company Skai will be the first third-party platform integrated into the new Microsoft offering.
The news reflects Microsoft’s ongoing strategic interest in digital retail marketing and advertising. In 2019, Microsoft acquired retail advertising company PromoteIQ, giving it a foothold in the retail advertising world. The company piloted a Retail Media Advertising Network in January, which included many of the features of its current Microsoft Advertising Network for retailers. The company earlier this year rebranded PromoteIQ as Microsoft Retail Media to highlight the company’s connected services.