Message in a bottle (Sending out an SMS)

Odds are that if you are sitting in front of your computer right now, you have MSN Messenger running; a claim supported by the fact that MSN has 10 million registered Canadian users among the 18 million regular Internet users in all of Canada. MSN unveiled its latest incarnation of its Search engine in early February and just days ago released Messenger 7.0 with several software upgrades including a new in-message-window search feature that has performed extraordinarily well with test markets. The initiatives are cementing MSN's position on the global Internet ad market, where it has recently gone up against the likes of Yahoo and Google.

Odds are that if you are sitting in front of your computer right now, you have MSN Messenger running; a claim supported by the fact that MSN has 10 million registered Canadian users among the 18 million regular Internet users in all of Canada. MSN unveiled its latest incarnation of its Search engine in early February and just days ago released Messenger 7.0 with several software upgrades including a new in-message-window search feature that has performed extraordinarily well with test markets. The initiatives are cementing MSN’s position on the global Internet ad market, where it has recently gone up against the likes of Yahoo and Google.

The advancements in Messenger technology are designed to expand MSN’s growing online advertising base. MSN’s advertisers have traditionally been web-based companies but the new Messenger add-ons put MSN in a position to go after mainstream brands. Media Metrix statistics have shown that MSN Messenger usage rivals and, in certain cases, surpasses television viewership in key demographics. Subtej Nijjar, product manager for communication services at MSN Canada, sees the move to positioning MSN as a mass advertising platform as the next logical progression for the rapidly growing communication tool.

Messenger 7.0′s new in-message-window search feature means that users who once bounced between message window and internet browser can spend more focused and uninterrupted time within Messenger. Instead of using the web browser to find restaurant locations or movie times, users will be able to seamlessly integrate conversations with information which, in turn, makes Messenger much more of a practical tool than previous versions of the chat program. Combine that with user information gathered by MSN through their Passport registration service and you don’t just have an advertising tool, you have an advertising weapon.

What’s next for Messenger? Well, in addition to putting out more regular software updates and patches to keep up with user demands as well as increasing security, Nijjar sees Messenger’s future firmly planted in the mobile environment. Like many other marketers in Canada, Nijjar is waiting for domestic mobile technology and usage patterns to catch up to levels being experienced in foreign markets like Europe. Once that happens, Nijjar asserts that Messenger will have developed to the point where the software has no boundaries. People will eventually be able to move seamlessly between desktop computer and cell phone, which in addition to being a huge benefit to users on-the-go will also benefit advertisers who will soon be able to literally reach their target demos where they eat, sleep and play.