Hey Microsoft, Where’s the Love for Women-Owned Businesses?

Lately, Microsoft Advertising has been taking concrete steps to drive inclusion on its platform.

It’s done this partly by creating useful resources, such as its Marketing with Purpose Course and its Marketing with Purpose Playbook. 

This is a direction I whole-heartedly support and applaud as an advertiser and human being. 

Building on this drive, Microsoft recently announced Marketing with Purpose Business Attributes as a new ad feature. 

This new feature allows advertisers to highlight unique attributes that showcase:

  1. How your brand demonstrates responsibility
  2. How your brand values align with the values of your customers
  3. How your brand is inclusive.

When advertisers select an attribute, it can display in their advertising, for example (circled in red):

According to Microsoft, highlighting these attributes helps to build shared values and connections and, not incidentally, can help drive purchase intent. 

This all sounds great, and I was fully onboard when I saw the announcement. 

But then I noticed something was missing. 

Aren’t Women-Owned Businesses Worth Highlighting?

When I looked more closely at the list of categories and attributes, I was stunned to see nothing about women-owned businesses. 

Here’s the complete list:

Microsoft has included many important attributes, such as small business, local business, family-owned business and minority-owned business—as they should.

But there’s nothing for women-owned businesses.

But including “women-owned business” as an attribute only makes sense from a marketing perspective. 

As Microsoft says itself, “When someone experiences an inclusive ad, there is a 26% increase in purchase intent.”

So why wouldn’t you use this attribute to include the 50 percent of the population that are women?

Let’s Encourage Microsoft to Make This Change

Microsoft hinted that it might be willing to expand on its list of attributes in the future, specifying that these were the attributes included “in this release.” 

But they won’t add women-owned businesses to the list unless we ask for it. 

So let’s all work together to encourage Microsoft to correct this oversight—sooner than later.

An Update

As of October 12, we’ve managed to get the missing women-owned attribute on the radar of the Microsoft Advertising engineering team thanks to the combined efforts of myself and some of my esteemed colleagues:

Microsoft Advertising women-owned attribute tweet

I’ll continue to monitor this situation—and hopefully I’ll be able to report soon that the women-owned attribute has been added.

Good News!!

As of November 2, it appears that “women-owned” has been added to Microsoft’s list of attributes:

A huge thank you to everyone involved in pushing this issue forward.

And thank you, too, to Microsoft for listening to its users and correcting this omission.