After years of handling programmatic with a light touch, Microsoft is making up for lost time. It has recently rolled out global programmatic direct options, agreements with other portals on automated ad serving standards, and last week, the addition of Window 8.1 apps and Outlook.com email-based placements. Esco Strong, director Microsoft's of Display Marketplace, said the small in-email units will double the amount of programmatic inventory it currently offers.
Additionally, over the next few months Microsoft plans to build a larger real-time bidding business in Western Europe.
The renewed programmatic push stems from the realization that, as it retooled properties from apps to email, it could rebuild its ad system as well.
"We felt it was the right time to introduce a new wave of programmatic offerings from the Microsoft Advertising Exchange in a reimagined way," Strong said. "It all started from a product perspective for users, not advertisers. But as we reformed our products, we saw ways we could also reimagine our ad sales inventory and how it's accessed as well."