- Microsoft's video inventory for MSN sold through AppNexus has multiplied from one format in one market to three formats in 65 markets, resulting in a 201% increase in video revenue in Q1 2018, according to news made available to Marketing Dive. Microsoft also saw a 29% increase in eCPMs compared to Q1 2017.
- Microsoft has more than 6 billion available impressions each month and is seeing more than 150 daily active video buyers, including major marketers, agencies and external demand partners.
- Microsoft is leveraging in-stream pre-roll, out-stream in-article and AppNexus' multimedia super-auction technology that allows various media types to participate in a unified auction. The super-auctions provided a revenue lift of up to 60% in certain markets, due to increased demand for ad placement. Microsoft's inventory has been measured as 80% viewable for in-stream pre-roll, more than 75% viewable for out-stream and more than 75% completed for in-stream pre-roll.
As digital video consumption continues to grow, some brands and agencies are exploring buying video inventory from publishers like Microsoft's MSN, the web portal for Windows. With 78% of marketers planning to increase their video ad production in 2018, according to Clinch research, niche publishers like Microsoft are increasingly able to match ads to audiences at scale.
Marketers have expressed a growing demand for transparency and concern for brand safety issues, and partnerships like Microsoft's with AppNexus are intended to give marketers alternatives to Facebook and Google. Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal may not hurt the platform financially, but some marketers are exploring their options. Google's YouTube also may have thought it puts its brand safety concerns behind it, but a fresh round of reports show this isn't the case, with ads still appearing next to objectionable content. The news was poorly timed for the platform, as Procter & Gamble has just agreed to start buying ads again following its exit last year over brand safety issues.
Microsoft has designed its pages to maximize video viewing, which is attractive to marketers looking to deliver their brand's content without being distracting or obtrusive to users. Microsoft's partnership with AppNexus is also designed to create video inventory that offers high viewability and completion rates.
"We are pleased to see the growing availability of Microsoft’s brand safe, curated video inventory through programmatic channels," Keith Tiley of GroupM, a division of WPP, said in a statement. "As an open, transparent platform that actively supports verification and measurement by [third] parties, accessing premium inventory via AppNexus' marketplace is a key element to achieving our clients' video campaign goals globally."
In March, AppNexus announced that it had been automatically enforcing publishers' ads.txt files by disabling buying from unauthorized sellers via its AppNexus Programmable Platform. When the company began enforcing the policy in late January, more than 80% of the top 1,000 domains available in its marketplace had ads.txt, an increase from the two-thirds in November 2017. Nearly half of advertisers report they're suspicious of publishers that don’t use ads.txt, according to surveyed by Oath, and about two out of three think ads.txt can help reduce ad fraud.