Skype has announced it will begin showing adverts as part of the Skype for Windows home tab later this week, the first time advertising has been promoted within the app. The US, UK and Germany will be the first markets covered, while Groupon, Nokia, Universal Pictures and Visa have all signed up to show their wares on a daily basis.
Happily there'll be a "hide ad" button for users fed up of seeing each day's deal, along with - as you'd expect from a VoIP company - a Click & Call button so that they'll be able to get in touch straight away. Meanwhile a share button will hook into Facebook and Twitter.
The decision is likely to frustrate many users of Skype, though with the company offering most of its services free, it's arguably a surprise that it's taken this long for adverts to infiltrate. Earlier this year Skype 5.0 dropped its beta label and began charging for group video calls.
Skype launches new advertising opportunity for the world's premier brands
Groupon, Nokia, Universal Pictures, and Visa among first brands to advertise on Skype · Skype establishes advertising sales partnerships in US, UK and Germany to sell advertising to premier brands
LUXEMBOURG, 7 March 2011 – Skype today announced the launch of advertising in Skype software, which will appear in the Home tab of Skype for Windows starting this week. This move represents the first time that advertising will appear in Skype, giving brands a unique opportunity to be part of the Skype experience, which has enabled millions of people around the world to do things together when they’re apart through voice and video calling, instant messaging, conferencing, and more.
Skype has partnered with leading advertising companies: Meebo in the US, Ad2One in the UK, and Ströer Interactive in Germany to sell advertising for Skype in each of their respective markets.
With 145 million average monthly connected users for the fourth quarter of 2010 and 29 million concurrent users at peak times, Skype’s reach and engaged user base makes it an attractive platform for brands to market their products. The first advertisers to sign up with Skype include: Groupon, Nokia, Universal Pictures, and Visa.
“We’re really pleased by the initial response among advertisers. We believe advertising on Skype helps fill a creative gap by giving brands a platform that has broad reach and global engagement, while also supporting large-format, rich and interactive ads,” said Doug Bewsher, Chief Marketing Office for Skype.
Skype “Home” provides a sponsored large masthead space at 650 × 170 pixels expandable to 650 × 340 pixels for advertisers to display ads that can include audio or video. Since the ads are on Skype, advertisers can add a Click & Call button in the ad as another call to action. In addition, it allows people to share the ad to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and with one-click, ads can also be closed with the Close Ad button.
“The user experience on Skype is always job number one. So, we’ve spent a lot of time working through the best way to show advertising in the Skype environment. We believe our daily sponsorship ad from one brand per day is valuable for premier advertisers, but doesn’t detract from the experience for our users,” said Bewsher. “We are just taking our first steps in this space and we expect to test and learn a lot as we move forward.”
"Many people log into Skype as part of their daily routine, just like they check Groupon," said Rob Solomon, president and COO of Groupon. "We look forward to leveraging Skype's new display advertising to connect Groupon to an even larger captive audience."
“Skype is known for great value with its low-cost calls to mobiles and landline phones, and free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls. We believe that advertising, done in the right way, will help us continue to add more value into the Skype experience as a whole,” said Bewsher.
Skype’s advertising sales partners in the US, UK, and Germany will help present advertisers with the opportunity to market on Skype.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Meebo, Ad2One, and Ströer Interactive. They give us great sales teams, reach and meaningful advertiser relationships, right from day one,” said Andy Sims, director of advertising for Skype. “All three partners are leading providers of advertising services, have deep relationships with top advertisers and agencies in their markets, and have experience selling high-impact brand advertising.”
For more advertiser information, go to www.skype.com/go/advertise.