Friday, 16 November 2012

Skype. 280 million monthly users. And it's getting a push from its owner Microsoft with new ad formats.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, has 280 million, monthly users. And it's growing at about 40% year on year.

Pretty terrific numbers and now they're going to push it further. Or at least it would seem that they're being pushed by Microsoft's Ad division by all reports.

It has unveiled Skype Apps for Windows 8 (you know, as in Microsoft's Windows 8) but it's pretty quick out of the box. They are also introducing new Ad formats that play on social interactivity. 

An example will be promotions that will appear during conversation streams (ads as you speak). Maybe you're talking weddings - up comes a wedding dress designer promotion.

It already carries ads on its home screen and it did launch 'conversation ads', display ads that appear when the user has no Skype credit, earlier this year.

Another plan they have is to create interactive conversations when two people are looking at the same thing. Say a hotel. We're both looking at it so let's have a conversation about it. 

Brands too will be able to create groups of like-minded talkers, which you'll join and then the brand can run content through them (such as video). Say you join the Ireland Group - you'll get ads about the country, stories etc. 

All a bit confusing? Sure is.... but by developing new and different formats, Skype may attract in brands who want to try something different. It's the nature of the Skype audience being visual, live and online, that's the attraction.

It's clever too in that the audience uses Skype for celebration - weddings, birthdays, christenings and so on that can bring a creative opportunity that's a bit novel. So you could have a brand enter the right conversation at the right time.

Generally Skype has done very well in numbers terms because the core idea is a great one. Despite that, it has a poor interface and shabby marketing, but it will get better and it would seem, it now has a new focus.

What's great about Skype is that it's a game-changer for telecoms and one of the classic online ideas.

It just needs a small push to own the world.
Which it seems, it's now getting.