Advertising and Location-Based Services

If you follow my blog or my activity on Twitter, you might wonder why someone who works for Microsoft Advertising talks about location-based services, such as Foursquare and Facebook Places. This is because if a brand advertiser is using, or thinking about using, a location-based service (LBS) to market their brand, then they’re also ready to start using Microsoft’s:

  1. Mobile advertising (aka, marketing on mobile devices via mobile browse ads, in-app ads, and mobile search, which is inherently local)
  2. Geo/Location-based targeting (aka, advertising targeted to people based on where they’re located)

The reasons for my thinking is that location-based services require the consumer to have a mobile device, so advertising your brand on mobile devices makes sense if the brand is already investing in LBS. Plus, the LBS products are largely unknown or unused by the general public, so an advertiser needs to reach out to a large audience to help drive awareness of their LBS efforts. This is where Microsoft can help: We’ve got a large audience that we can target ads to based on location and we offer a variety of advertising on mobile devices.

Related to location-based services, of course, is social media. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Microsoft Advertising also has a few social advertising options too.

You can contact Microsoft Advertising in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America to help with any of these ad solutions.

I’m also happy to help answer questions, but please know that my day job has me focused on the biggest advertisers and agencies of the world, so I might not be the best resource for smaller businesses (aka, not global billion $ businesses).

Brian Groth

[Full disclosure: Yes,I work at Microsoft, but I also find location-based services to be a very interesting topic from both a marketer’s point of view and as a consumer. You can often find me in Seattle checking in on Foursquare or Facebook Places just for the fun of it.]


Foursquare Resources for Brand Managers

BrianGroth Foursquare Ambassador CardI’ve blogged about brands using Foursquare before, and now I’m a Foursquare Ambassador to help explain to local businesses in Seattle why they might want to be on Foursquare.

However, helping local businesses is just a hobby. I’m interested in what brands do with Foursquare and other social media services. (I work at Microsoft helping large brand advertisers and agencies keep up with the latest in social advertising.)

To help both of these efforts, I’ve compiled a list of resources to be of help for both brand managers and venue managers:

I manage a brand, not a venue, what should I do?

What else should a brand manager, venue owner or consumer know about Foursquare?

Please let me know if you know of other great Foursquare resources or examples of brands using Foursquare.

The Future of Social Advertising

I recently wrote about social advertising from Microsoft, but that of course isn’t the only game in town and as Bob Leathern points out, eventually all advertising will be social. I don’t fully agree with that, but I’d argue that any good advertising is already social (you tell your friends about a funny ad) and that most online advertising in the future will be social. Even Google says that “in 2015, 75 percent of ads on the web will be “social” in nature—across dozens of formats, sites and social communities”. I’m not sure where they get 75%, but that number does feel about right.

However, this is not to be confused with display ads that appear on social networking sites. A quick poll by SmartBrief on Social Media shows that these aren’t quite mainstream yet, and that the ROI isn’t quite there either.

However, as I talk to advertisers about social media and from what I see in blogs and Twitter, advertisers certainly see the potential of social media. This will certainly be an interesting space to watch, and shape, over the next few years.

For now, I am proud to share Microsoft’s social advertising capabilities as part of our rich media display ads.

Social Advertising from Microsoft

You’re in marketing, involved with social media, but where do you advertise your brand? It’s about time I explain a bit about the products I represent at Microsoft: Microsoft’s Social Media Advertising, or more specifically, Microsoft Advertising’s Rich Media Social Features. These include: 

  • Social Polls that invite people to share their votes in response to brand-sponsored questions.
  • Social Streams that display positive messages from Twitter and other commenting platforms about an advertiser or campaign. Get accurate, immediate reporting on click-through rates, engagements, and Tweets.
  • Social Video Players that enable people to easily repost videos to Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live using built-in icons.
  • Social Momentum that utilizes the power of peer influence to reinforce a call to action. Create a dynamic ad with socially relevant messages that show the popularity of a product in a person’s community.
  • Social Hubs that inspire people to engage with your brand. You can pick and choose a mix of Microsoft Advertising’s Rich Media Social Features that work for you—and your audience.

This is just the beginning and I’ll report more as we release new offerings.

Marketing with Online Video

Brad Bush posted a great articles for us marketing technopologists today about “A Marketer’s Guide to Video Codecs” with some good information on what you should know about if your marketing efforts include online video.

One product he didn’t mention was Windows Media Player, which is my preferred player on my PC. Microsoft also has a good FAQ on codecs too.

Learn about more technologies for marketers at MIX11

MIX11_BB_SeeYouAt_2What new technologies can you use for your marketing efforts or business solutions? That’s a big question, but one that the MIX conference is good at covering.

I’ll be there learning about the latest and greatest technologies, so if anyone wants to meet up, just contact me via Twitter at @BrianGroth. I’m happy to discuss advertising, social media, technology, social media marketing, and other topics like that. (maybe skiing, sake, sushi, travels, etc. too)

Register and learn more about it at and if you go, blog about it and use the MIX11 blog art. Then follow the MIX team on Twitter via MIXEvent and use the #MIX11 hashtag

Technology for Today’s Marketer (part 3): HTML5

Continuing my series of articles of technologies for today’s marketer, I recently ran across a whitepaper from Sprout that’s an overview of HTML5 for creative agencies (you have to request to download it – it is free).

It explains HTML5 capabilities such as canvas, video,  local storage, geolocation and forms. The reason it’s important for agencies and advertisers to understand these is because it opens up new ways to engage consumers online.

Of course, the IE9 beta is a great way to test HTML5 sites and we have a variety of  videos about developing for HTML5. Plus, the Internet Explorer Testing Center compares all the HTML5-capable browsers and there is a full set of HTML5 articles and samples on MSDN.