Microsoft has announced it is to become the exclusive third-party provider of contextual and paid search advertising for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network.
The move is a significant win for Microsoft, which lags well behind Google and Yahoo! in the online advertising stakes.
The network of sites that will now feature ads supported by Microsoft’s advertising platform include business and finance news sites, such as the Wall Street Journal Online, Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com and AllThingsD.com.
The addition of these sites brings an extra 20 million unique visitors per month to the extended Microsoft network. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network is expected to begin providing Microsoft contextual advertising in February.
“This deal is a significant win for Microsoft for two key reasons,” said Brian McAndrews, senior vice-president, advertiser and publisher solutions at Microsoft. “First, it makes the extended Microsoft advertising network the premier destination for advertisers interested in reaching financially-minded users as it complements our offering in this vertical through MSN Money and other syndication partners.
“Second, this deal is a strong indicator that we’re gaining significant traction with our advertising platform. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network is one of the largest financial services publishers in a very dynamic vertical segment, and we’re delighted to add it to our portfolio.”
Last May, Microsoft spent US$6bn on online advertising company Quantive, the largest acquisition in Microsoft history, signalling its intent to win market share in the online marketing space from leaders Google and Yahoo!. Net advertising firm Quantive specialised in channelling ads to third-party sites.
“Relevant and targeted digital advertising is important to our business and to the quality of the experience that we deliver to our users,” said Gordon McLeod, president of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network. “Microsoft’s state-of-the-art advertising platform will enable us to dramatically improve our revenues from this key sector, and we look forward to working together.”
By Niall Byrne