Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson is perhaps the main strategist in the company’s battle for online advertising dollars and in some sense driving the future of Microsoft as an entity. Fortune magazine interviews and profiles Johnson. Johnson runs the group that controls the Windows OS and online services, including Live Search.
Toward the end of the article the discussion shifts to Johnson’s desire to “disrupt” Google in search. The new Live Search Cashback program (the CPA ad model in particular) is an effort to do that. The Fortune piece suggests there will be other such “disruptive” moves coming.
Johnson also alludes to Atlas’ “engagement mapping” strategy, which is seeking to diminish the credit that search gets (i.e., “the last click”) for conversions and broaden the aperture through which conversions are viewed. The system and approach are imperfect but do provide a broader perspective on a consumer’s path to an ultimate conversion. Google’s DoubleClick division reportedly has a similar offering, which I have not seen.
What Microsoft has on its side above all other things perhaps is a mountain of cash and the ability to take a long-term view of its competition with Google. However with the company’s share of consumer search apparently flat or headed in the wrong direction it will need that patience, as well as inspiration and some genuine luck to make inroads against its Mountain View foe.
Postscript: Kevin Johnson will be keynoting SMX Advanced, June 3-4 in Seattle (so will Google’s Matt Cutts). It should be very interesting to say the least.