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Microsoft Offers Rich Media Ad Tools to Customers

Microsoft Corp. is offering a new set of rich media banner ad solutions free for any customer to use.

The MSN enRiched Ad Program includes new apps that expand the banner ad creative space, incorporate e-commerce into traditional ad banners and make possible the transfer of existing television commercials to the Web.

The new solutions are scheduled to be available here free to online advertisers beginning Oct. 1.

Microsoft said it developed the rich media program in response to feedback from advertisers and advertising agencies seeking more depth and interactivity in traditional ad banners and faster turnaround times for rich media ads. Requiring only a three-day turnaround, the MSN enRiched Ad solutions significantly reduce a process that typically takes from five days to three weeks. Microsoft said.

"Today, the biggest complaints among online advertisers are that effective rich media ad programs are too technically challenging and take too much time to launch," said Jim Kinsella, general manager of MSN Sales and Marketing.

"The MSN enRiched Ad Program makes this process nearly effortless -- just add graphics and your ad is ready go."

The program will offer:

  • Expanding menu ads. These Dynamic HTML-based ads are designed to expand the creative space available to advertisers by incorporating buttons that activate text-based menus outside the space of a standard or midpage banner. Menu space can be used to display lists, such as book titles, sales lists and product options. Each item in the list has its own hyperlink.

  • Sticky graphic and banner combination. This combination ad product has two parts: a standard GIF or JPEG banner, located in the normal ad space, and a second "sticky" banner, located in the top right-hand corner of the browser window. Users with larger monitor dimensions will see both a 468x60 pixel banner and a vertical sticky banner on the right side of the screen that stays in the same location as a user scrolls. This ad is designed to take advantage of the empty right-hand column sometimes left blank on Web pages.

  • Streaming video link for television ads. For the cost of a standard banner, advertisers can incorporate their existing television commercial into a banner ad on the Web. Triggered by a mouse click, an advertiser's Web-encoded television commercial will stream to a consumer's browser.

  • Active information banner. This solution offers advertisers a quick-loading banner that delivers real-time information, using D-HTML to display text-based information in a ticker-like format.

  • Bookmark This! This banner ad product lets users bookmark an advertiser's Web site or offer within a Web browser.

  • E-mail manager banner. This banner lets advertisers capture and manage new e-mail subscriptions from users within the space of the ad.