Today, at the Monaco Media Forum (MMF) Tony Bates took the stage to talk about Skype as an innovative media platform for new premium advertising experiences. I wanted to share some of the highlights from his conversation with Matt Campbell of Bloomberg talk about some of the innovations we’re bringing to advertisers today, and our plans for the future.
At Skype, we believe in the importance of making deep and real connections – with each other, with our families and friends, and with the folks that love our products and believe in our brand. Skype exists to bring 1 billion people closer together today and everyday – no matter which country they live in, no matter which device they choose to use. We build strong emotional connections by giving people a deeply personal experience that connects them with the most important people in their lives. Skype brings humanity back to technology.
We launched Skype as an advertising platform over a year ago. But we took a very measured approach because we believe that advertising and sponsored media can only be effective if it’s offering something of value to our users and is a seamless extension of the Skype experience. We are now proud to announce our next generation advertising platform Skype Ads for Windows 8. Advertising on Skype for Windows 8 has been built into the experience from the ground up and is completely congruous to the native Skype experience. This means brands can take advantage of Skype’s new fast, fluid and easy to use design just as much as users. The result is an inviting and engaging environment for our audience and for brands to start interacting in new ways that are completely natural to the Skype experience.
The advertising experience in Skype for Windows 8 leverages the solid foundation we have built over the last 12 months. In May we launched Conversation Ads which give users the opportunity to discuss the products and services they love with each other live. This was a complement to our homepage sponsorships on both Desktop and Mobile that were well suited for advertisers who want to build awareness and who wanted a consistent multi-screen experience for their campaigns.
In addition to our innovative new platform, Skype has one of the largest, most engaged and most desirable audiences in consumer internet. Our audience has grown to more than 280 million on a monthly basis and is still growing at 40% year over year. Our users love Skype and they are our best advocates. Our users are social influencers and purchase decision makers, people who are more likely to post their opinions on social media sites and more likely to advise others on purchases. They are actively engagingwith the people they care most about on Skype, spending 8 billion hours a year on our service. And they love our video calling, which has grown to over 50% of all calls on Skype. But as Tony mentioned in his conversation with Matt Campbell, the Skype experience is growing beyond that. We will begin to offer more shared experiences on Skype that take advantage of our inherent strengths in both video and messaging, and our commitment to being cross platform and cross device.
We see advertising as an extension of something we already do really well - connecting people in meaningful ways. We’re reaching people at some of the most important moments of their lives – when they’re getting married, having children, buying homes, taking new jobs. And it’s these activities that create opportunities for brands to reach audiences at the right time, with the right information, when they are making decisions together with the people they care about.
So as we progress in delivering on our advertising vision, we will build on the pieces of the puzzle we already have in place. We will combine the reach, the engagement and the rich video experiences we have today with more interactive, social and truly relevant branded experiences in the future. I look forward to reporting back more regularly on our progress towards this vision so please stay tuned!
Sandhya Venkatachalam, General Manager, Advertising & Monetization at Skype