Skype unveils new ad model, calls advertisers to join the conversation

Few months back Skype became a part of the advertising ad portfolio. Skype and Microsoft worked together to bring out a new way of exploiting ad opportunities that strike the right balance between protecting the wonderful Skype consumer experience and creating meaningful opportunities that enables you to tell brand stories.

If you are a non-subscriber and regularly use the free calling feature on Skype, you might as well expect the in-conversation ads or The Conversation Ads, as Skype likes to call it, in your window soon enough. Though, if you’re on a Mac or any other operating system apart from Windows, you are probably free of that requirement for now. The ads are only a part of audio calls, and not video. Skype also assures that the quality of conversations will not be compromised because of the ads.

Skype said that Conversation Ads will offer brands and companies the chance to have "meaningful conversations" with its hundreds of millions of connected users.

The advertisements will appear within the Windows Skype client, taking up as much space within the window as the image of the user that you're talking to.

"While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences," said Skype's Sandhya Venkatachalam in an official blog post.

In order to keep Skype running at maximum optimization it has introduced a Creative Acceptance Policy which states that advertisements cannot expand beyond a 300×250 pixel rectangle and cannot be any larger than 40k in size. Skype has agreed to accept only certain types of file types including GIFs, Flash files and JPEGs.

To further the company’s plans for optimal performance ads will be limited to no longer than 30-seconds for animations and will only are able to loop three times while being displayed.

Skype has also prohibited the use of cursor animation, strobing effects or the use of Windows or Skype product mimicry that has not been previously approved by Skype administrators.

All users without Skype Credit or subscriptions will see the ads, but only when using Skype for Windows. The ads will be silent and non-expanding.

In order to target ads for the right users Skype will use non-personally identifiable demographic information such as location, gender and age.

To opt out of any ads that target your demographic or personal information, you can go to Skype's options menu, hit Tools and then Options and the Privacy tab.

Clicking on the Show Advanced Options button allows you to de-select "Allow Microsoft targeted ads, including use of Skype profile age and gender".

This means that Skype will still be able to supply ads based on your location, but not on information like your age or gender.

Skype Conversation Ads may generate some revenue, but it's still a question whether the interruption approach will work particularly well in helping them grow their free subscriber base or not. No doubt it could help grow the premium subscription levels.  Skype first started rolling out ads in March 2011 via the Home tabs within the U.S., U.K, and German versions of Skype with ads from Groupon, Universal Pictures, and Visa, among others.

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