Quite quickly after taking it over, Microsoft has brought a new element to Skype – big Conversation Ads in the middle of your call. Just like YouTube, Skype is now taking on advertisements along their calls making companies and their products and services part of the Skype conversation experience.
The in-call ads will be taken on in 55 countries and will be targeted for specific groups. The idea is to give marketers the opportunity to reach out to hundreds of millions of Skype users. They are then predicted to have conversations about brands in a very engaging environment. Users will see the additional content on their Skype pages and this is expected to spark ideas for additional topics about brands, products and services in the conversations. Its almost like marketers have an idea that they should tell you what to think and talk about. The method seems to be a bit intrusive, especially as Skype wants to give the impression that this is something its customers actually want.
‘’ While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences’’.
Skype is trying to present the ads as a fun interactivity to help users have a richer experience talking to friends and family, consequently making Skype a more useful place to have conversations. Although we can understand the basics of what they are trying to say, it is better to provide useful and compelling content in a way that people will seek it out themselves. Having it suddenly jump on users’ screens in the middle of the conversation is a bit intrusive. Also, this new in-line advertising will not apply to business users and those who purchase Skype credit, but only to individuals who are using the free version of Skype. Therefore the only way to avoid the ads will be to purchase the credit or contact a video conferencing service provider such as Eyenetwork.
Many Skype users are not happy about this new feature. Here is what some of them had to say:
‘’ The banner is distracting and annoying. The worst part is that it’s animated’’.
‘’Worst choice in advertising ever. The very reason Skype is popular is because it is simple and clean and free of such garbage. I understand you have to make money but I jumped at 6.9 to avoid such an annoyance. This isn’t the way to get your fan base to like you more’’.
‘’ We get that you like money, Microsoft, but we don’t like ads. Or at least not these incredibly obnoxious ones’’.
‘’I’ve noticed with these ads that Skype is accessing my hard drive with an unacceptably frequent amount of time, and more often, which slows down other programs, and eats more memory. These ads are also bad because of this’’.