Microsoft has made its ad inventory 100% programmatic across ten European markets – a move lauded as a “tipping point” for digital advertising as a whole.

Ad tech group AppNexus has provided the software behemoth with “key systems” in order to make the full transition, in a bid to differentiate its offering as a publisher.

The service will be available across Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden.

Commenting on the event, Appnexus president, Michael Rubenstein stressed that a leading publisher going fully programmatic in key markets represented a huge moment for the entire industry.

“We are eager to build on this success and lead the way for publishers who are trying to leverage technology to drive innovation, efficiency, and strategic advantage over slower movers,” he added.

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Microsoft’s venture into programmatic comes after a recent forecast from Magna Global and Cowen & Company identifying the ad-buying model as digital advertising’s fastest growing subset.

The software company now seeks to work closely with demand partners to identify appropriate programmatic channels and settings to meet the goals of its properties.

Some of its premium publishers under scrutiny include Outlook, Skype, MSN and Xbox.

“We value our long standing relationship with AppNexus and our technology partnership that is simplifying the buying process for our customers,” said Barry Dougan, VP global display, Microsoft Advertising.

Rubenstein said that a move into programmatic bypasses the need for a “team of hundreds” in sales processing.

“This is about evangelising the marriage of data-driven campaigns with high-quality inventory and audience building,” he added.