Search engine domination has been a two horse race for some time with Google and Yahoo! being the industry icons. Though MSN has been the clear cut third place holder, it has never really asserted itself as a potential contender for either of the top positions in recent years. That is until now!
The mistake of underestimating the power of search in the early days by Bill Gates and his executives has left MSN lagging behind in terms of search usage and, more importantly, technology for their platform.
There’s no doubt the future of search engine marketing is stronger than that of any traditional medium at the moment, and accordingly, MSN have invested in their search future with the unveiling of adLab. A catchy abbreviation for AdCenter Incubation Lab, adLab is the hub of intelligence designed to give MSN the technology boost it needs to catch up to Google and Yahoo! in the battle for online marketing budgets.
This joint project between MSN’s adCenter paid search, content, & targeted advertising platform and Microsoft Research, is comprised of 50 leading edge researchers given the mission to develop integrated and innovative advertising solutions that connect marketers with consumers.
Driven by consumer knowledge and behavioral data, the project is aimed at providing advertisers with rich targeting capabilities based on audience intelligence information while giving consumers a more relevant online experience.
The first AdLab innovation catching our attention is Video Hyperlink Ads. Imagine a system that detects products shown during a show or commercial, and provides viewers with the ability to zoom into the product and click through to detailed product information and purchase options.
This is the sort of intelligence that is the cornerstone of MSN’s plans to re-emerge as a serious contender in the search marketing arena. With effective behavioral and contextual advertising being the next major steps for search advertisings evolution, it appears that Beijing based adLab could just be incubating MSN’s future search success.