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Microsoft unveils digital advertising technologies at its fourth annual Demo Fest

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Microsoft unveils digital advertising technologies at its fourth annual Demo Fest

Close on the heels of its plans to fortify its presence in the online space with the proposed Yahoo! takeover, Microsoft has unveiled a series of next-generation digital advertising technologies at its fourth annual Demo Fest, an event that showcases some of the latest technologies for OOH and video advertising developed by Microsoft adCenter Labs.

The technologies highlighted at this event include the latest advances and algorithms in content analysis and computer vision for video and images, speech recognition for contextual video ads, and advanced marketing intelligence that enable enhanced audience insight and better targeting capabilities for advertisers.

“We believe the technical advances and intelligence we are creating at adCenter Labs can change the game of online advertising,” said Tarek Najm, Technical Fellow at Microsoft. “Solutions to today’s challenges must be capable of handling and understanding the complexity of vast amounts of data. To address that challenge, we are developing advertising algorithms that can anticipate and understand consumer behaviour faster than the speed of thought, so that we can help advertisers create more efficient and relevant user experiences,” he added.

Seven demos have been featured at the event, which include:

Air Wave: It is a technology for the OOH advertising space. By using an interactive, multi-touch screen display, consumers can play games or interact with advertisements to receive coupons or product information. With the help of a webcam, they can try on products such as sunglasses virtually. This technology builds on the “large display ads” technology showcased at last year’s Demo Fest.

Contextual Ads for Video: This technology enables ads to be dynamically served based on the content discussed in the video. For example, if the topic of the video is gardening, ads related to gardening or lawn improvement could be served in an adjacent text-based ad as the video played. For advertisers, this provides access to consumers while at the point of consideration.

Intelligent Bug Ads: It balances the interests of advertisers and the target audience by locating non-intrusive frames in a video in which to place ads. By using a computer vision algorithm to calculate the least intrusive spot in the video, it approximates human judgment and places the ad in the video where it is least likely to interfere with the consumer’s viewing experience.

Visual Product Browsing: It is a tool that uses computer vision algorithms to browse and categorise images as a human might, without the need for manual data tagging. Online shoppers could use this technology to visually browse categorised images of products such as lamps and narrow their search to find “more like this” options through physical and visual characteristics such as the product’s height, depth and width. This brings efficiency to photo browsing and enhanced targeting capabilities for advertisers who are trying to better understand user intent and preferences.

Content Analysis Engine: This technology uses advanced algorithms to automatically extract and categorise information from search queries and Web page contents to better understand user intent and minimise search engine marketing complexity. Search engine marketers can use this technology to discover valuable keywords relevant to their category or to bid on categories, such as digital cameras, instead of managing each individual keyword associated with a category. Categorisation also helps publishers more effectively monetise their advertising inventory by opening up additional contextual content opportunities deeper into their content pages.

Content Detection in Sub-documents: It is a technology that identifies sensitive or unsuitable content such as pornography, weapons or negative sentiments that advertisers would not likely want to be associated with, and automatically blocks contextual ads related to that content.

Ad Research Dashboard: This builds on the success of the Keyword Services Platform (KSP) introduced at the Demo Fest last year. It is a flexible and central place within the adCenter that provides marketers with access to analytics and advanced algorithms that are tied to actual data sets from adCenter to help them maximise the effectiveness of their search marketing campaigns. The dashboard builds on Microsoft’s commitment to provide advertisers and agencies with as much data transparency as possible to help them to make more informed decisions about their search marketing campaigns.

Microsoft Advertiser & Publisher Solutions (APS) provides advertising platforms and tools for advertisers, agencies and publishers. The APS portfolio includes Microsoft adCenter, Atlas, DRIVEpm, Massive and ScreenTonic. APS businesses span search, display and emerging media including mobile, gaming, video on demand and IPTV.


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