Skype launches homepage display advertising

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Digital communications platform Skype launched display advertising for Windows users in the US, UK and Germany on March 7. Groupon, Visa, Nokia and Universal Pictures are among the brands that have signed up at launch to sponsor Skype's homepage for a day.

Advertisers can include audio, video and social media tags within each rich media ad. Brands can also include a click-to-call feature for consumers to communicate in-app with a brand. The size of the display ad on Skype's homepage is 650 pixels by 170 pixels, and is expandable to 650 pixels by 340 pixels. Andy Sims, director of advertising at Skype, said marketers can change the content of an ad throughout the day it runs.

Julie Mossler, PR manager at Groupon, said the appeal of advertising on Skype for her company is that people who use Skype are “the same kind of people who would use Groupon.”

Sims added that “Skype users in general tend to have broadband access, they tend be a little better educated, and tend to have a little higher income.” He added that consumers who use Skype are “more likely to do international travel” and “participate in things like rich media.”

Skype users opt-in at sign-up to provide non-personally identifiable information to advertisers. However, the company was only sharing consumers' location by country with advertisers at launch, said Sims.

Advertisers can measure clickthroughs of any element featured in the ad, such as Facebook or Twitter shares or video plays.

Asked if the timing of the launch is related to Skype's plans for an initial public offering in the next year, Sims said “because of that public offering, I really can't speak to that.”

Sims said Skype has 139 million monthly users, with peaks of “29 million people using Skype concurrently.”

Skype partnered with advertising companies Meebo, Ad2One and Ströer Interactive to sell advertising in the US, UK and Germany, respectively.

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