device-montageMicrosoft just announced that it would begin offering advertising inventory on Skype for the first time in China, the Philippines and Thailand, helping brands take advantage of the growing popularity of Skype in these markets.

Skype is the communications provider of text, voice and video that makes it simple and fun to share experiences with closest friends, family and colleagues - wherever they are, on whatever device they choose. By now, Skype has more than 300 million active monthly users in more than 70 markets around the world and offers advertising now in a total of ten markets in Asia including Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Skype is part of Microsoft’s unique and connected ecosystem that enables brands to tailor advertising experiences across the entire footprint of devices and services – which touch 892 million consumers every day – and stitch them together so that marketers can tell multi-screen stories across MSN, Bing, and Thus, advertising on Skype allows brands to sponsor human emotions - the big and small moments that make life wonderful.

“People love Skype, which makes it a great place for any brand looking to reach an engaged audience,” said Adam Anger, general manager for Greater China Region at Microsoft Advertising. “But beyond that, Skype offers premium space within an uncluttered environment where people come together for meaningful moments with family and friends. Advertising on Skype provides brands the opportunity to reach this captive, influential audience like never before.”

This week, Microsoft started to offer premium branded experiences, like Conversation Ads and the Connection Hub Ad to give brands access to the Skype community on the PC. In China, the offering extends to Windows 8 users on tablets and the PC, with mobile inventory expected to go live in the coming months.

Many of the formats are standardized, making it easy for advertisers to take advantage of existing creative forms, including the previously mentioned new offerings:

  • Conversation Ad Standard 300x250 & 300x600: Premium advertising that appears within Skype to Skype audio calls, allowing brands to actually become a part of the conversation.
  • Connection Hub Ad 728x90 & 234x60: Premium advertising that is placed in the Connection Hub, the central starting point for all Skype user engagement including voice calls, video calls, chat activity and instant messaging.

According to Skype their advertising experiences have proven impact for brands, resulting in double digit lifts in some of the hardest to move metrics like intent to recommend and intent to purchase. Moreover, Microsoft Adverting states, the Skype audience is socially active and influential with one-third saying they have used Skype to receive a recommendation or recommend a product.

“Skype exists to bring people closer together today and every day,” said Lovina McMurchy, general manager of Skype Advertising. “It’s the powerful connections that we help make and our laser focus on the user experience that make Skype such a great place for consumers and brands alike. With  by now more than 70 markets worldwide and ten in Asia, we look forward to working with new brands to sponsor more of these important and wonderful moments in life.”

Microsoft’s offer to reach millions of consumers around the world, combined with service support and technology that helps marketers untangle the complexities of digital media will definitely be an interesting new marketing vehicle for many in Asia.

By MediaBUZZ