Microsoft has launched a new advertising pilot program allowing businesses authorized to provide select government services to use Microsoft Ads to reach customers. This creates new marketing opportunities for many local businesses that offer government services, such as auto titles and registrations.
The program begins today and is limited to the Microsoft Advertising Search Network and Microsoft Audience Network within the U.S.
This program would allow authorized third-party providers of select government services to reach Microsoft Search Network’s audience of 120 million unique PC users who perform 7.6 billion searches monthly in the U.S., representing 38.1% of the PC market share. This audience typically spends 32% more than the average internet user.
Microsoft would serve advertisements from permitted service providers on Microsoft products like Cortana, Office, Bing, and Edge, as well as partner websites like AOL, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and MSN.
The pilot program marks a significant step for Microsoft as it explores new opportunities for advertising within the realm of government services.
The program will only allow advertisers of certain government services from authorized providers. These services include recreational passes/licenses (hunting licenses, fishing licenses, national park passes, forest passes), vehicle registration and title services (registration renewal, replacement of lost titles, replacement of lost tabs/stickers), and vital records (birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates).
Other businesses that offer related government services will require approval from Microsoft to enter the pilot program.
Advertisers must adhere to all Microsoft Advertising policies, relevant state regulations, and licensing requirements.
Previously, third-party providers of government services were not allowed as a part of Microsoft Advertising policies surrounding information integrity and misleading messages.
Advertisers may not impersonate a government agency, claim a false affiliation with government agencies, or advertise websites that appear related to official government pages by using similar colors, logos, or domain names as noted in the restricted government products and services policy.
Interested advertisers must apply for the pilot program and provide the following information.
- The products or services they intend to advertise.
- A list of targeted states for each product or service.
- Proof of authorization for each product or service in the applicable state where advertising will occur.
This announcement comes a day after Google Ads postponed the enforcement of new policies related to the direct acquisition of government documents and services. These changes in advertising policies come at a time when economic uncertainty has led to lower forecasted ad spend in the U.S.
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