With Windows Phone 7 getting relatively positive reviews - or at least not getting slammed like the short-lived Kin - advertisers are taking a second look at the quietly-launched accompanying ad platform, Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Mobile.
First described by Microsoft earlier this year, the Windows Phone 7 ad platform has three main tools in its portfolio: Apps, Tiles and Toast. These give brand owners access to the front pages of handsets if consumers download apps from third parties. Icons on the homepage are dynamic so a brand could send out information about offers or new releases. Also, one of the tools, Toast, would reach out to consumers should the messages fail to get through by pushing content out to the device. Microsoft has a steep hill to climb as it races to catch up with Android and Apple.
That said, here are three reasons why it might succeed:
It is comprehensive.
Introduced last month, Microsoft hopes to use the ad exchange to attract to developers to its Windows Phone 7 platform with a clear cut monetization path. Thus it has lined up several mobile ad networks to participate in the exchange, including Millennial Media, Where, InMobi and MobClix. Furthermore, there are signs that Microsoft is considering opening the exchange to other devices with its claims that its mobile Web properties reach 59% of iPhone, 45 percent of RIM, and 53% of Android users in the US, ClickZ notes.
It is not Apple.
Certainly Microsoft is doing its best to contrast itself with Apple's reputed dictatorial app approval processes. In a blog post, Windows Phone 7 director Brandon Watson promises that developers who submit applications for the new Windows Phone Marketplace can expect the certification process to take about five days. He also made pointed reference to Apple’s high rejection rate, often on the grounds of quality.
"We're taking lots of steps to help ensure that people find quality apps for their phone. We also appreciate the need to respect the wisdom of the market and not introduce arbitrary restrictions on what kind of app can be submitted. Besides, every developer has to start somewhere, and every developer deserves to have that moment where they show their friends their app running on a phone," he said.
It is real-time bidding.
Watson also calls Microsoft's new ad exchange for Mobile as the industry's first real-time, bidded ad exchange for wireless devices. While other companies may make similar claims, it is clear mobile real-time bidding is still a nascent space and Microsoft is among the early adopters.