Skype ads open to the region

Microsoft introduces Skype advertising to the Caribbean and Latin American region.
Skype ads introduced to the region
Story by Mark Lyndersay. Originally published in the Business Guardian of May 10, 2012.
Microsoft’s online advertising site says very little about Skype specific advertising, but details on ad sizes and guidelines for use are available for review.

Ever since Microsoft bought Skype in October 2011, spending US$8.5 billion on the acquisition, everyone who uses the service has been wondering what comes next. So far the news has been good. The software has been updated regularly, bringing interface improvements, and an interesting new relationship with Facebook, which has brought calling to the social network and Facebook streams to the software.

The next step in the software’s evolution is advertising and Microsoft is now offering advertising opportunities using Skype to customers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Skype offers customers access to advertising inventory and direct placement in 17 markets of the region: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay, the Latin American Region, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago.

Microsoft is particularly interested in the Latin American region which has recorded the fastest growing audience of Internet users over the age of 15. According to ComScore data referenced in a Microsoft press release, Latin American Internet use grew by 16 per cent between 2010 and 2011 compared to three per cent growth in North America and six per cent in Europe.

“Online advertising has been growing,” said Leandro Cruz de Paula, Regional Sales Director of Microsoft Advertising who responded to questions exclusively with the Business Guardian in an online Skype interview.

“With more access to middle-class consumers and more digital fusion, users are growing fast in the region and people are demanding more. The internet is growing and advertising is growing, all the big brands are coming to the online market.”

Early adopters plugging into the new advertising opportunity will have an opportunity to take advantage of an advertising medium that has been used by Coca Cola, Ford and Samsung to potent effect.
“What we've noticed over time by doing constant research,” said de Paula, “is that if you add advertising that's relevant and well placed, the customers, at least those in Latin America, tend to like that and they respond well by clicking through.”

Microsoft has a fair bit of experience with web advertising from its work with its other products such as MSN, Messenger and Hotmail.
“There is a full menu of options that an advertiser can choose from,” de Paula explained. “All advertising displays are user initiated. If you don't click on anything, nothing will play or respond.”

The company has some strict guidelines for its advertising. It doesn’t allow pop-up advertising or pop-unders and no advertising can perform an action until the user clicks on it.
“What we've learned over time is that the more creative and interactive the ad, the greater the response.”
The product is software plus services, but, according to de Paula, “The question of what is software, what is an application and what is live on the web is now merging and we are pursuing an experience that encompasses all of it. If it can be on the Skype website, it can be in the actual software.”

“Microsoft has several different product platforms, and all of them generate audience,” de Paula explained.
“Microsoft Advertising offers a way to reach all those users and to give them a better experience, pulling together Windows Phone, the desktop, the Xbox and an advertiser can look at all of that and find ways to reach their audience. The Skype platform is now part of that larger MS Advertising ecosystem.”

Advertisers interested in making use of the Skype platform will be mindful of the product’s popularity, with 960 million users, how frequently it’s used, carrying 20 per cent of the traffic of long distance international calls, and its growth, said by Microsoft to be increasing by 40 percent in a year on year comparison.

The product’s voice and video features will also play an increasing role in Microsoft’s existing online communications products, including MSN, Messenger, Hotmail, Office, Lync, Windows Phone and Xbox 360, potentially extending advertiser reach.

Online advertisers interested in expanding their reach using Skype can contact Yissell Perez, Microsoft's sales representative in the region at Details on advertising choices can be found at
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