Microsoft is souping up its CDP.
Advertisers using Microsoft’s year-old customer data platform – Dynamics 365 Customer Insights – to house their first-party data can now activate that data through the Microsoft Advertising platform, the company said Tuesday at its Business Applications Summit.
The first-party segments can also be used to reach audiences through Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
Microsoft Advertising houses two main assets. The first is the Microsoft Search Network, which sees 14.6 billion monthly searches globally across nearly 700 million unique users. The network now has roughly 14% of desktop search market share across the world and 37% of PC market share, which covers desktop and tablets, in the US.
The second asset is the Microsoft Audience Network, which is Microsoft’s native advertising solution and its answer to Facebook’s Audience Network or the Google Display Network. Advertisers can target audiences on Microsoft News, Outlook and the Microsoft Edge browser across more than 1 billion Windows devices.
As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Microsoft is also making its Customer Match targeting capability, in beta since last year, generally available in all markets other than the EU, UK and China.
Customer Match allows brands to supply first-party email addresses that can then be used to find and retarget existing customers across the Microsoft Search Network and its audience network.
Steve Sirich, GM of Microsoft’s global ad business, claims that clients who have tested Customer Match saw a 120% higher conversion rate, on average, and 44% lower cost per acquisition.
Creating a bridge between Microsoft Advertising and Microsoft’s CDP will help fulfil an increasingly urgent need, Sirich said, as third-party cookies quit (or, more accurately, will soon be fired) and device identifiers become more difficult to come by.
“We’re heading toward an inflection point in 2022, and that creates an opportunity here which plays to a first-party data strategy,” Sirich said. “What we’re doing here is providing marketers with a more end-to-end solution so they can use first-party data across our portfolio.”
For example, a brand that has both online and offline experiences could unify its first-party data in the CDP and then re-engage existing customers using the Microsoft Advertising platform. Similarly, a brand could identify customers in the loyalty program with Customer Match and later target them through the search and/or audience networks.
Creating deeper connections between Microsoft’s marketing offerings and its business apps will continue to be a priority, said Brenda Bown, GM of Microsoft Business Applications.
“The integration of disparate data sources is fundamental and you will see many more integrations across applications, like the integration of customer journey orchestrations with marketing and other apps,” Bown said. “We want to make sure that we provide customer touchpoints wherever marketers need them so we can help them drive actions.”
In March, for example, Microsoft created a closer connection between Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Azure Synapse Analytics, Microsoft's enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics service.
These moves are also part and parcel with other recent rollouts. In late April, Microsoft released a search-based video ad unit, coupon and price comparison ad units for Edge and verticalized ad units for travel and tourism brands, hotels and auto sellers.
“You’re seeing what historically might have been more siloed efforts across Microsoft driven by a more thoughtful integration of marketing tools, Customer Insights and first-party assets,” Sirich said.