Microsoft Machine Learning

How I learned to STOP WORRYING and love the bots.


MICROSOFT CAME TO US with a desire to attract more candidates for roles in machine learning and artificial intelligence. What ensued is a DEEP DIVE into the minds of these highly technical people – and a campaign that would grab their attention and inspire them to apply for a job.


Scientists and engineers can be a tough crowd to compel with marketing. While, to outsiders, they appear to be working within a realm of science fiction—they’re looking to make a real and lasting impact on the world. They’re not as interested in creating technology that can compete with humans as they are inspired to make machines that can empower us.


To get their attention and fill at least 460 positions within the Information Platform Group at Microsoft, we knew that we would need to shift from marketing Microsoft to championing the thing that inspires our very specific audience: machine learning.

“What if” questions have been fueling scientific discovery since science was first discovered. Since “What if” is the poster child for insatiable curiosity—we used it as the starting point of our celebration around the good, bad and ugly of machine learning. We showed candidates how, at Microsoft, one question builds on another and the answers lead to game-changing breakthroughs


We created a microsite where visitors are confronted with important What If questions that lead them to engage with timely content about the change that is taking place in the world because of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

We updated the content regularly to keep a fresh crop of stories in play. For instance— when Microsoft’s AI bot named “Tay” had a meltdown on Twitter—we ran an article about the lessons they learned about the technology they were developing, as well as a few lessons about what it means to be human.

As visitors snacked on the content on the site, they were asked one of the more important questions: “What if your job search ends here?”—which would lead them to learn about open machine learning roles at Microsoft.

We used a focused media buy leveraging the “What If” digital creative across a diverse media mix including programmatic, publisher direct, search and mobile. The 3-month campaign was parsed into phases so we could optimize our creative based on the data we received from previous weeks/months. This also allowed us to keep the messaging fresh as new stories were introduced on the microsite.

The campaign exceeded our client’s expectations, fulfilling and then surpassing our goals ahead of schedule. The content continues to live on the microsite and is available for future updates to keep timely content in rotation.


Filled all 460 machine learning roles in the first 2 months of the campaign.

  • Filled all 460 roles in two months.
  • 3,607 conversions in 3 months. Doubled conversions week over week.
  • 32% of people who visited the site clicked the link to find out more about jobs at MS.
  • Ending CTR was at .21% (versus .08% standard tech desktop )
  • Mobile was the strongest partner in efficiencies and CTR.
  • Top performing geo-fenced markets – San Francisco, Boston, Sacramento, Seattle, Hartford & New Haven.
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Once the campaign went live, all 460 roles
were filled in two months.

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