Microsoft’s Behavioral Targeting includes Web, Mobile and Xbox

As the debate in Congress, the FTC, the European Commission heats up about behavioral targeting and online privacy–and as regulators examine the Microsoft/Yahoo data deal–here is how Microsoft plans to extend it’s use of behavioral targeting [from MediaPost, excerpt]:

 Microsoft last week began offering behavioral targeting for ads running on its mobile network. But while the service offers a range of online targeted categories — about 100 –to advertisers buying mobile display inventory, the launch really means so much more.

Jamie Wells, Microsoft’s global director of trade marketing, mobile advertising solutions, says the targeting cuts across the Web, mobile and Xbox platforms when consumers sign into their Windows Live account. It allows media buyers to purchase consumer profiles demonstrating interest in specific categories, as well as specific times in a purchase funnel.

The technology doesn’t rely on cookies, but rather the user’s Windows Live ID. Cookies present a challenge on the Web, but even more so on mobile. Sometimes telecommunication carriers either strip out cookies or don’t accept them from third-party companies. So, rather than use cookies, Microsoft relies on behavioral profiles associated with Hotmail email and Xbox accounts through Windows Live ID. When a person on a mobile phone uses that same ID, Microsoft can link the behavior on the Web with behavior on their mobile phone and Xbox.

Although tight-lipped on Microsoft’s strategy, Wells admits “this is just the beginning.” Microsoft plans to expand its approach to tie together the Web, mobile and Xbox, drawing on the power of the entire Microsoft network. The strategy will integrate the audience, he says.

“The mobile application addresses one of the biggest challenges, which is targeting,” Wells says. “This is a way to circumvent the cookie problem and use online profiles. Also, some folks would argue that there’s a much higher bar for ad relevancy on mobile, and BT speaks right to that.”

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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