It’s been an interesting and exciting week at Ad Week. For us – this is a big week for our advertising offerings coming out in the Windows 8 app ecosystem. It was great to hear Qi Lu’s keynote at IAB MIXX as he shared Microsoft’s perspective on the evolution of the online industry and the opportunities for the advertising world moving forward – particularly around putting the consumer at the center of our approach to advertising. Then, Bob Visse joined Qi on stage and debuted the new MSN on Windows 8. If that wasn’t enough, later that afternoon, my colleagues Keith Lorizio and Stephen Kim showcased the amazing Ads in Apps concepts that came out of our co-ideation program with our agency partners (and then they did it again today for the AdWeek audience!).
The common narrative behind each of these sessions is that they demonstrate how Microsoft Advertising is pursuing innovations that elevate the brand story in the consumer experience.
Everything we’re creating at Microsoft Advertising is designed to lead our evolving industry into tomorrow. The ads of today will not work tomorrow. We need to stop thinking of advertising as just advertising, and start thinking of advertising as a solution to a consumer’s problem.As an industry, we have to find better ways to help brands reach people online with engaging stories that put brands at the epicenter of the consumer experience. With advances in technology combined with the stunning creativity that can happen in a touch-enabled world we’re beginning to push the boundaries of what’s next in digital advertising. We’re beginning to see examples of what consumer centered advertising means.
We continue to believe that an important key to consumer satisfaction w/advertising is engagement. Nothing captures that more than what we are doing to support the IAB Rising Stars and how the audience on Skype is engaging in new and innovative ways.
IAB Rising Star Updates
This morning at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Global Summit, I shared the stage with Peter Minnium of IAB and others to talk about the IAB Rising Stars ad units and how we believe they are transforming consumer engagement. During the session, I shared the results we’ve seen from the IAB Rising Stars formats. As you may know, MSN was the first publisher to adopt all six Rising Stars and we’ve seen tremendous growth and success in deploying them across the globe with over 500 executions on six continents for all major verticals. We partnered with the IAB on research to see how effective these units are compared to the standard IAB formats established more than a decade ago. The results represent a powerful vote of confidence for Rising Star ads:
· Rising Star ads boost interaction rates by 2.5x, interaction time by 2x, and brand recall by 4x
· Rising Stars ads were perceived to be better designed, more engaging, and more enjoyable than most ads online
· The ads were accretive to the user experience, improving a user’s impression of the website while delivering more useful info about the products advertised
· Rising Stars were even 25 percent more likely to raise a smile than the old IAB standards – what a great way to measure success!
Of course you can’t talk about Rising Star formats without mentioning our IAB Filmstrip. To-date, we’ve implemented the IAB Filmstrip more than 80 times just on our own network, not including other publishers using IAB’s display units. The IAB Filmstrip’s impressive features have attracted big name brands, including Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford, Disney and Alfa Romeo, some of which were just announced as 2012 IAB MIXX finalists. Our Mobile IAB Filmstrip is offering advertisers the same opportunity presented by our Display Filmstrip but optimized for user behavior on mobile technology. This powerful new mobile ad unit will be available for advertisers later this year.
So what’s next? We recently submitted two additional ad units – the Video Filmstrip and the Switchboard – to the IAB Video Rising Stars competition, the IAB’s third such competition. We partnered with VPAID provider Mixpo on these submissions and look forward to seeing how these will help brands better engage with their audiences. The winners won’t be announced until February, but we have already operationalized and begun offering these units to advertisers.
Skype Research Produces Promising Results
Skype is at the heart of consumers’ daily lives, providing social experiences for the most important moments. We see it as a platform that not only puts the consumer experience at the center but that also offers brands a global reach that can’t be ignored. We recently partnered with comScore and Ipsos MediaCT to confirm what we instinctively knew already - that Skype offers a unique, special and effective brand engagement opportunity. We explored elements of Skype users’ habits, preferences and attitudes towards the service and the brand opportunities within, and also ran ad effectiveness research with comScore.
The research with comScore found that ad exposure on Skype drives considerable lift in both attitudinal and behavioral change among users, including:
· 15 percent increase in brand favorability
· 17 percent increase in likelihood to recommend
· 26 percent increase in intent to purchase
In addition, the research with Ipsos MediaCT found that more than half of all respondents use Skype weekly, with average usage settling at twice a week. Additionally, half of Skype users share content and take/provide recommendations to those in their trusted Skype network, and three in five are open to taking purchase recommendations from their Skype contacts.
Overall, we found that ads on Skype are seen as more trustworthy and relevant than most other sources with 83 percent of respondents seeing ads on Skype as very or somewhat trustworthy.
We’re gratified to see these great results around consumer engagement across our portfolio. What’s even more exciting is this is just the beginning. We have an unparalleled lineup of new and exciting consumer services including Windows 8 Ads in Apps, Skype, Xbox, Windows Phone and a continually evolving MSN, not to mention innovative solutions to match.
I can already see the possibilities with the products we have in the pipeline, partnerships with some of the best creative agencies in the industry and innovation coming in a steady stream across all our services and devices.