Not long ago, Microsoft’s MSN relaunched its WAP portal. Today the company is introducing display advertising (graphical and text ads) to MSN Mobile in the US market. (Mobile display advertising is already present on MSN in Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, and the UK.) According to AP, inaugural advertisers include Bank of America, Ford (Jaguar), and Viacom (Paramount).
The technology behind the ads is from mobile ad platform ScreenTonic SA, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year.
In speaking with Microsoft on Friday, we discussed how advertising on MSN Mobile right now is largely untargeted but will become increasingly targeted (including by location) over time. However, Microsoft is trying to be restrained and mindful of the user experience in rolling out these ads.
Yahoo and AOL offer display advertising in mobile and Google offers search and text-based ads in mobile. Microsoft’s Live Search for mobile has featured ads from PPCall provider Ingenio (now part of YellowPages.com) for some time. Accordingly, all the major search and portal players now are monetizing mobile in earnest.
There are many mobile ad forecasts out in the market. One that I was involved in formulating projects roughly $5 billion in mobile ad revenues in North America and Western Europe by 2012.
On the desktop MSN has almost 500 million users globally (according to Microsoft), and the company sees considerable synergy between the PC and mobile. In addition, the company says that it is increasingly integrating the databases and various services it offers on mobile devices. Currently, the company offers Live Search for Mobile, MSN, the Live Local mobile client application, and 1-800-Call-411.