For the first time, Skype, the online VOIP and instant chat service, will service adverts on its users home screen, opening up a market of 145 million monthly users to advertisers around the world.
Skype has partnered with Meebo in the U.S., Ad2One in the U.K., 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 has a huge market which has not been monetised to date. The first advertisers to sign up with Skype include: Groupon, Nokia, Universal Pictures, and Visa.
Skype “Home” provides a sponsored large masthead space at 650 x 170 pixels expandable to 650 x 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.
Alex Craddock, Head of USA Marketing at Visa Inc said:
“Driving international usage of Visa cards is a key priority for Visa and users of Skype are more likely to travel and transact internationally than the general population. To be the first to work with both Meebo and Skype in a highly engaged environment is a great opportunity for us.”
Groupon listed the regular usage of Skype alongside its captive audience as the main reasons for advertising on the service.
Advertising on some free services such as Facebook and Youtube has sometimes provoked a reaction from visitors because of the impact on user experience. Will the same reaction cause problems for Skype?[poll id=”16″]