Home Platform Solutions Microsoft Advertising and Shutterstock Collaborate to Help Businesses Create Effective Ads

This integration makes it easy and fast to create high-performing ads with millions of fresh images, available for free in Microsoft Advertising.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing environment, many businesses are looking for ways to stay engaged and top-of-mind with their audience.

To support businesses of all sizes who are strapped for time and budget, Microsoft Advertising and Shutterstock are coming together to make ad creation faster than ever with a product integration within the Microsoft Audience Network, Microsoft Advertising’s programmatic native offering. The integration allows Microsoft advertisers to access millions of free, ready-to-use images.

Starting July 21, 2020, Microsoft advertisers in the United States and United Kingdom can access Shutterstock images within their Microsoft Audience Ads creation workflow. With the integration in place, advertisers can browse, preview, license, and create ads using high-quality images in minutes. 

While the images are free to use for Microsoft advertisers, Microsoft is covering the license fees on behalf of its advertisers. With Shutterstock API integrations, our global community of contributors will earn royalties every time an image is licensed for use within a partner platform.

According to Julia Kim, Digital Operations Analyst at CoStar, “We are happy to be able to refresh our evergreen campaign’s creatives in a consistent manner and improve performance without heavily depending on our creative teams.”

Learn more about this integration below and join us for a webinar on July 23, 2020, to discover the art and science of using impactful visuals in your Microsoft Audience Ads.  

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Improve ad performance with powerful images

Man looking at phone smiling with a mug in his hand
Image by Jacob Lund

While most businesses had to reduce spend across all channels during the pandemic, native advertising remains a useful marketing channel given that people are spending more time online consuming media

eMarketer chart showing an increase in minutes spent with media from 2018 to 2020
Image from eMarketer

For instance, parents are reading about ways to entertain and teach their children from home, folks working from home for the first time are researching headsets and other office equipment, and others may be learning about DIY home repair tips and could use a new set of tools. 

Given that online media consumption is ingrained consumer behavior, you want to stand out with your stunning ad where your audiences are spending their time. A proven way to attract attention to your native ads is with strong visuals that draw the eyes and give your ads a chance to deliver the message to your target audience. 

To help businesses create high-performing native ads at scale, Microsoft Advertising integrated with Shutterstock so you can have the visual ammunition you need to make an impact. Plus, with Shutterstock images available within your Microsoft Audience ad creation workflow in Microsoft Advertising, creating a beautiful ad is faster than ever. 

Instead of pausing your ad creation workflow to open another browser tab to search, license, download, and upload multiple images to find the perfect one for your campaign, you can simply search, preview, and apply any Shutterstock image in the Microsoft Advertising user interface. Here are the steps for getting started. 


Personalize ads quickly with over 330 million images

Image by BublikHaus

Different audiences may require different visuals. For example, a native ad promoting a financial planning course for young adults would need an image that reflects that demographic. Or a teacher supply store may need to pivot to using visuals that reflect education in a home environment.

It can be difficult for businesses to produce ads requiring a variety of high-quality and diverse images, especially on a tight timeline. With the Shutterstock integration in place, Microsoft advertisers across any vertical can find the image that will resonate with their audience quickly. 

To support businesses in running ads with diverse and inclusive visuals, the Shutterstock library offers images from over one million contributors from more than 100 countries, each capturing moments from their lives. This means that you can easily find:

  • Authentic images that reflect scenes from everyday life
  • Images from specific regions
  • Diverse and thoughtful representations of people

For Microsoft advertisers, you can use this extensive library to craft different visual variations for your native ads to fit different audiences, A/B test, or localize for a specific region to increase ad performance.


Worry-free licensing protection

Image by fizkes

Along with access to high-quality images and workflow improvements, this collaboration also helps advertisers enjoy peace of mind knowing that any Shutterstock image they choose is cleared for use within any Microsoft Advertising campaign. 

All Shutterstock images go through a rigorous review process with trained reviewers who look for technical execution to ensure image quality in addition to compliance with copyright, intellectual property, model release laws, and more.

This means that Microsoft advertisers don’t need to concern themselves with making sure that the images they choose are properly licensed for use for commercial purposes. 

We’ve also taken additional steps to ensure that the images available within your Microsoft Audience Ads workflow are in line with advertising requirements, so you can focus on picking the best image for your ad instead of worrying about compliance.


How to get started

Adding stock images to your Microsoft audience campaign is fast and simple:

  1. When you are creating an ad for your audience campaign, click “Add images”
  2. In the dialog that appears, select “Stock Images”
  3. Browse available stock images by typing in a search term that is relevant to your product, business, or ad campaign’s story.
  4. Keep in mind that the images you select must adhere to the Microsoft image policy as well as the following:
    • Images can only be used in ads created and served from Microsoft Advertising, in its original, unaltered form.
    • Images may not be used for adult content or unlawful content that infringes on any third party’s trademark or intellectual property rights. 
    • Images may not portray any person depicted in the image that is offensive, including the person in connection to adult content. 
    • Images may not be used as a trademark, service mark, or logo.
  5. You may see a Shutterstock watermark over your image. Watermarks do not appear in the final ad delivered to your target audience.

Stock photos are currently rolling out to advertisers in the United States and the United Kingdom who are participating in our beta of the Microsoft Audience Network. If you’d like to join the beta and access this integration right away, please contact your Microsoft Advertising account manager.

If you do not work with a Microsoft employee to manage your advertising, then you can reach us directly through this form. After you submit this, you can expect the beta to become available for your account within 1–2 weeks.


Join us for a webinar

Want to see the integration in action? Click here to reserve your spot in our upcoming webinar on July 23, 2020 at 2 PM EST // 11 PM PST!