Microsoft's New Focus; Facebook's New App Ads

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Microsoft Repositions

In a companywide message distributed to Microsoft employees Thursday, CEO Satya Nadella spoke on Microsoft’s transition from a technology provider to a devices and services company. In particular, Nadella stresses Microsoft’s need to focus on productivity and platforms. Detailing Microsoft's cloud OS, device OS and first-party hardware, Nadella notes that the tech industry's shift toward mobile will play a role in future strategizing. "We're really in the infant stages of the mobile-first world," writes Nadella in the company memo. "In the next few years we will see many more new categories evolve and experiences emerge that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes. Microsoft will be on the forefront of this innovation with a particular focus on dual users and their needs across work and life." Read it.

Virtual Vending

Facebook announced on Thursday a new ad offering on desktop for app developers. The offering centers on promoting and selling virtual goods, such as points or tools in gaming apps. Last year Facebook updated its desktop app ad offerings for game developers to monetize their players, and the company has always allowed developers to vend virtual goods in apps. "Now, with desktop app ads for virtual goods, developers can take both of these products a step further and engage players with promotions outside of their app," explains Pin Lu, a software engineer at Facebook. Read more at Inside Facebook.

Weaving For Wearables

Mindshare is betting on wearable tech, and on Thursday formed a new task unit devoted to directing ad spend into the wearable market. Mindshare's managing director of mobile, Jeff Malmad, will lead the unit, Life+, which will focus on fitness trackers, smartwatches and virtual reality devices. Speaking to Ad Age, Mindshare Chief Digital Officer Norm Johnston called wearable tech the third wave in digital advertising (following display and mobile). But he stressed that wearable devices need more native content in lieu of traditional advertising. "They're quite intimate and the data shared is very sensitive," he said. "It's not about just slapping up ads." A curious turn of phrase. Read more!

Sponsored Ads Succeed

Native advertising often engages audience less than regular content, but native’s underperformance might have a great deal to do with context. In fact, Upworthy says its sponsored content often pulls more traffic than regular posts. According to Upworthy, branded content typically gets three times the shares and 3.5  times the page views. Digiday has the story.

Mobile Bridge Exits Stealth

Mobile Bridge came out of stealth at the MobileBeat conference on Wednesday, and CEO Eyal Oste spoke more about the product to VentureBeat on Thursday. Mobile Bridge is a marketing automation platform for mobile advertisers with a focus on automated geotargeting. But Oster explained that geotargeted ads isn't enough – context is also key. Mobile Bridge therefore pulls in data like weather and whether the mobile user is walking or jogging. This allows marketers to serve ads that are more relevant. Read on via VentureBeat.

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