Microsoft introduces Skype advertising to Canada

Skype’s the limit for Microsoft Advertising, which is now selling advertising on the free version of the VoIP service it acquired last year for US$8.5 billion. Microsoft began selling Skype advertising in the U.S. late last year, and rolled out the product in several global markets including Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the […]

Skype’s the limit for Microsoft Advertising, which is now selling advertising on the free version of the VoIP service it acquired last year for US$8.5 billion.

Microsoft began selling Skype advertising in the U.S. late last year, and rolled out the product in several global markets including Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

Owen Sagness, vice-president of advertising and online for Microsoft in Toronto, said that Microsoft has already seen “pretty good traction” for the Skype product among retail, consumer electronics and automotive advertisers in the U.S., and expects it be similarly alluring for Canadian advertisers.

Sagness called Skype “a very hot brand” that is “generally a safe environment for marketers to advertise in, and a very rich canvas for them to tell their brand story.”

Canadians are ardent Skype users, spending a total of 161 million hours on the service in January – a 78% increase over the 2011. The average time spent with Skype is 34.5 minutes, a 66% increase over January 2011.

“There’s a lot of engagement, and it’s engagement of a social nature,” said Sagnes. “Skype really allows advertisers to reach people that are highly engaged in a social setting, which is very powerful.”

Microsoft’s goal, said Sagness, is to ultimately get to one billion users a month. “When you start to talk about those types of reach and engagement numbers, it’s a very interesting proposition,” he said. “Advertising is the way we’ve chosen to monetize the free version of Skype.”

The ad units appear on the Skype home page, and include a 300 x 250–pixel unit and a 650 x 170–pixel unit that is expandable to 650 x 340 pixels to show ads that can include audio and video. Microsoft is also testing an “in-call” unit with clients including Walmart.

The product is currently being sold on a daily flat rate.

Sagness said that people 18-24 are 38% more likely to visit Skype than the general public, while adults 25-34 are 15% more likely. Users are also 24% more likely to come from a household with an annual income of more than $100,000. The product also skews slightly male, 53% versus 47%.

How will Canadians react to ads in this venue? Post your thoughts in our comment section.

Media Articles

Social Scanner: Social gets serious about shopping

Three big social networks make moves in ecommerce, plus Vine gains traction and Target partners with popular YouTubers

Vancouver homeless campaign generates buzz worldwide

Convertible bus benches seen as antidote to anti-homeless doorway spikes

CRTC fines four companies for telemarketing violations

CRTC imposes penalties for calls made to consumers on Do Not Call List

CRTC to meet with telecom/cable industry over paper bill fees

Fact-finding study finds “wide variance” on how such fees are approached

Sponsored content relies on, among other factors, storytelling, site credibility: IAB

New study outlines consumer attitudes towards native advertising

Alan Cross goes back to The Edge

New role will see the resurrection of The Ongoing History of New Music at the Corus-owned station which hopes to lure back lapsed listeners

Netflix turns its eye to international expansion

Streaming video company will also continue its aggressive pursuit of original content

Elvis spotted around GTA in new campaign

It’s viva… Blue Mountain, as celebration of all things Elvis marks 20th anniversary

Bell Media refreshes The Loop, promotes sharing

Revamp comes less than two years after rebrand of the former Sympatico