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Partner program updates and Virtual Partner Summit recap

We’re living in uncertain times and for the road ahead, partnerships are more important than ever. Microsoft Advertising is grateful for the partnerships we’ve built with incredible companies around the world. Amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Microsoft Advertising team has made the decision to defer any changes that negatively impact tier status for the 2021 program cycle.

The announcement was made on May 20 by General Manager of SMB Sales & Strategy, Kenneth Andrew, in his opening session at the virtual partner summit with more information being provided in the program update section of the event. In Kenneth’s words, “We hope this gives you and your customers the time and space you need to adjust to the ongoing developments in the world.” For those partners that were unable to attend, we encourage you to view the content that is now available on demand.

Each year, the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program conducts a mid-year tier status check, followed by a yearly review of participating companies’ progress against program requirements to determine their tier status for the next program cycle. This year, existing partners can carry over their program tier and benefits through December 2021, regardless of whether they have met the program requirements. Tier upgrades and new partner enrollment will continue as usual. 

In January, Microsoft Advertising also announced that we would be transitioning our program requirements structure to a multi-variable scoring system. Due to all the uncertainty and challenging times, the partner program is postponing these changes until 2022. More details are to come later this year. 
 
The second annual Virtual Partner Summit saw global attendance from hundreds of partners, and highlights included:
 
  • Actionable advice from Christi Olson, on monitoring your account health, immediate short term and long term strategies as you plan for economic recovery, and a plan for those advertisers who might be seeing a surge in business.
  • Insightful research around the psychology of inclusion and its effects in advertising by MJ De Palma, that shows that inclusive advertising drives trust as well as purchase intent, and that playing it safe is actually riskier than taking a stand.
  • A comprehensive product roadmap by Vaishali De that touched not only on feature introductions and improvements in the last year, but also what is coming up. The Q&A with the product engineering team that started during the summit will be continued in the partner program community on LinkedIn.
  • Thought-provoking topics like the importance of search and the value of trust were addressed through excerpts of sessions by Microsoft leaders: Rik van der Kooi, Steve Sirich, and Chris Capossela from the Microsoft Advertising Elevate Live Broadcast.
 
We also announced the winners of this quarter’s Microsoft Advertising Partner Celebration — a new quarterly recognition initiative for partners. Huge congratulations to the North America winner, Tandem Interactive, and the finalist, Fathom, for impressing us with their stories of growth, differentiation, and adaptability to recent times. We’re excited to spotlight their stories soon!
 
If you’re interested in enrolling in the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program, you can find more details here.

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