MSN Launches adCenter Incubation Lab: adLab

MSN is unveiling a new research center in Beijing today that has the the mission of developing tools for its adCenter platform. Called the adCenter Incubation Lab, or adLab for short, members of the new service are to show some of their developments to Microsoft employees during the second annual internal adCenter Demo Fest. More details below in the press release from Microsoft:

Microsoft adCenter Incubation Lab Unveils Global Technology for Digital Advertising Industry

adCenter Demo Fest exhibits leading-edge advertising technology.

REDMOND, Wash. ? Jan. 12, 2006 ? Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the Microsoft® adCenter Incubation Lab (adLab) during its adCenter Demo Fest, an exposition of industry-leading research and innovation in the field of digital advertising technology from Microsoft researchers.

adLab, a joint effort between Microsoft?s adCenter and Microsoft Research, is a state-of-the-art incubation lab in Beijing with a mission to research and incubate advanced technologies for Microsoft?s adCenter, providing advertisers with rich targeting capabilities based on audience intelligence information while giving consumers a more relevant online experience.

adLab?s top-notch group of more than 50 researchers will develop advertising solutions that connect marketers with consumers in more relevant, innovative ways unseen in the industry before now. Today at the adCenter Demo Fest on the Microsoft campus, the researchers gathered to present prototypes of more than 15 of the approximately 40 advertising technologies they are currently working on for long-term implementation, including online advertising solutions, video opportunities, as well as television- and mobile-based-advertising products.

These prototypes hold the promise to change online advertising dramatically in areas such as paid search, behavioral targeting and contextual advertising. Also shown were projects addressing areas of incubation in their earliest stages of investigation, such as ad bar-code readers, social network mining, image and video and large-display ads.

?The exciting work being shown at adCenter Demo Fest and the new Microsoft adLab reflect Microsoft?s commitment to innovation in the field of ad products,? said Tarek Najm, general manager of adCenter at Microsoft. ?The Microsoft team of top researchers in this field is unsurpassed and certain to produce compelling advances that will impact and ultimately change the game in online advertising. With this long-term applied research, we will continue to improve advertisers? return on investment by delivering rich audience intelligence information and enabling simple and complete control over all aspects of the advertising campaigns.?

One of the innovative technologies highlighted at this event was video hyperlink ads, which can detect product items displayed on a television screen during a show or commercial, allowing consumers to zoom into products featured on the television screen and click through to detailed product descriptions and information on where the products can be bought.

The adLab will be headed jointly by Ying Li of Microsoft adCenter in Redmond and Jian Wang of Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, and will consist of a team of dedicated scientists with specializations in the areas of data mining, information retrieval, statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, auction theory, visual computing and digital media. Together, this group of internationally renowned researchers have published more than 80 articles on a range of topics including information retrieval, data mining, visual computing and smart devices.

Postcript from Gary

Pam Parker over at Clickz has more in the article: Microsoft Establishes adLab as R&D Center

One more near-term prototype, which [MS spokesperson Karen] Redetzki said was coming in six months, was a capability to let marketers target ads by behavioral segments. She added that advertisers would also be able to create custom segments, which would let them more accurately target their prospects.
Postcript 2 from Gary Those with an interest in Microsoft research in online advertising advertising might find the following tech report of interest: + Targeted Advertising with Inventory Management (2000)
In this paper, we describe how to use a linear program to identify a schedule, based on known attributes of each visitor, that maximizes the expected number of clicks given all of the inventory-management constraints. We present experimental results using real data that demonstrate that a delivery schedule from our system realizes more clicks than a schedule that was hand constructed.

If you're interested in what patents Microsoft has recently applied for that deals with online advertising, here's a list of a few that were filed in 2005. It's NOT a comperehensive list.

Patent Applications

+ Assigning textual ads based on article history Published: September 29, 2005

+ Targeted advertising based on consumer purchasing data Published: September 15, 2005

+ System and method for optimizing paid listing yield Published: July 14, 2005

+ System and method for optimizing search result listings Published: July 14, 2005

+ Methods and systems for selectively displaying advertisements Published: January 27, 2005