PALM SPRINGS, Calif — Gone are the days since MSN was Microsoft’s only horse in the advertising race.

Nowadays, the company’s ad offering encompasses Xbox, Outlook and a whole lot more.

So Microsoft enlisted AppNexus to be its supply-side platform (SSP), the software ued to automate the sale of a publisher’s ads at scale.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Microsoft monetisation director Kevin O’Donnell explains key considerations for the company when making its SSP decisions.

“We need a partner that can go with us in terms of that diverse portfolio, so properties that have very robust, cookie-based, and traditional ways to do user matching to less traditional ways in the desktop app space,” he says.

“The other thing that’s really important to us is making sure that we understand what’s going on across the value chain. So, when you think about an SSP and a publisher of the scale of Microsoft, we want to make sure that our costs are in line with what our buyers expect and that they can provide as much of the intermediary value in the value chain that a buyer would expect.”

The “value chain” aspect is one that has flashed red lights across the industry over the last year, as as sides of the advertising world have become agitated with insufficient transparency over buying decisions, as well as the growth in fraudulent behaviour.

“Both publishers and buyers have taken their eye off the ball a little bit in terms of what they’re selling, what they’re buying,” O’Donnell adds.

“What’s happened is, a buyer targets a certain price that they want to buy inventory at, and then little bits and pieces of that are taken out throughout the chain, and then the publisher doesn’t really know how much the advertiser actually values what they’re selling.

“As a publisher, getting a little more clarity on how much an advertiser values our inventory and understanding where those intermediaries are actually adding value in the middle is really important.”

This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.