Microsoft is aiming to increase its appeal to marketers with a new way to measure the effectiveness of internet advertising campaigns. The company’s new “Engagement Mapping” is due to begin in beta form on March 1 and hopes to promote a change in thinking about how ads affect consumers’ buying decisions.

Microsoft’s approach departs from the long-standing ad campaign reporting methodology that associates sales, leads and web traffic simply to the last click or ad exposure. The new system instead takes into account a broader range of ads consumers see before they buy, so clients truly know how each ad exposure — whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels — influenced an eventual purchase.

Microsoft's new ad initiative follows its purchase of online marketing company aQuantive for $6 billion last year in an effort to capitalize on the fast-growing online ad market and better compete against Google.