MSN to Feature Clickable Ads on Mobile Searches

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft recently announced its plan to include advertisements via MSN's Windows Live Search for Mobile service.

The interactive advertisements will appear after a relevant search; when the ad is clicked, the phone will place a call to the requested destination. Users will not be charged to run a search, but advertisers will be charged on a pay-per-call basis. (Source:

To provide this service, the Microsoft is partnering with San Francisco-based company Ingenio. In 2004, Ingenio launched the industry's leading pay-per-call advertising network. In a nutshell, the network allows businesses to enter the search engine market while only paying only for received calls. The model has proved effective and has generated numerous customers for Ingenio, including AOL and InfoSpace. (Source:

The new advertising iniative is logical, considering that most users are likely to search for information on their cell phones that they will use immediately. For example: a user might search for a specific restaraunt; if an ad for that restaraunt appears, the user could click on the ad to be linked directly to the restaraunt. This is one of the many ways in which customers can benefit from the advertisements. In fact, Microsoft is hoping to turn this feature into a new revenue stream. (Source:

The market for such advertisements is large, and greatly untapped. The Kelsey Group, a research and analysis company, projects that the pay-per-call advertising market will reach a sound $3.7 billion in the next four years. Matt Booth, the company's program director, attributes this forecast to the growing popularity of cell phone-based searches, which he assures "is certain to further pay-per-call adoption among top-tier advertisers and publishers." (Source:

Ingenio Chief Marketing Officer Marc Barach also assures that mobile advertisements have a bright future. "Mobile searchers are starting to do more than just impulse searches for pizza or hotels. They're starting to do more in-depth searches for things like residential real estate, cable TV, and mortgage refinancing. There's a consumer shift starting, where people are using their phones as mobile computers." (Source:

Cell phones have indeed become mobile computers for many. Just like with the advent of radio and television, companies have shifted advertising dollars to reflect consumers' technological preferences. Cell phones have quickly become the new "it" advertising medium.

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