Microsoft says its ads now reach a billion people worldwide

Microsoft Redmond Office
(Image credit: Microsoft)
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Microsoft has achieved a major milestone after its ad network – spread across Bing, Outlook.com, AOL, MSN.com, Yahoo, and other properties – reached one billion people last year. 

The news comes via MediaPost (opens in new tab), which cites Microsoft internal data and ComScore as evidence of the huge reach of the company's ad business. 

According to Microsoft, many of the viewers are "overlapping audiences" – the term used for when an audience member uses multiple properties or services from the company at once. As such, 64% of US Windows users also visited a Microsoft service in Q3 2021. 

How did we get here?

You might be wondering how Microsoft has somehow managed to create an ad business that compares to Google and Facebook and the answer is essentially that Microsoft has been plugging away for a long time to get here. 

Back in 2006, Microsoft struck a deal (opens in new tab) with Facebook to supply ad inventory to the growing service, giving the former much-needed eyeballs and letting Facebook focus on growing its service. 

The success of MSN.com has also played a role. According to Alexa.com (opens in new tab), MSN.com records an average of 40 million daily visits, ranking 59th in the world. The news service, which often aggregates others, outranks (opens in new tab) CNN.com by this metric. 

Microsoft also recently acquired (opens in new tab) AT&T's programmatic ad marketplace Xandr, suggesting the company's ambitions are extensive. 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.