The Skype blog has announced the launch of Conversational Ads in Skype. Users of Skype for Windows, who don’t have any Skype Credit or subscriptions, will see the new ads when they make one-to-one voice calls using the program.
Skype Conversation Ads are meant to be unobtrusive in some ways, they will be silent, non-expanding and the Skype Blog reassures us that the ads won’t use too much internet bandwidth which could be detrimental to sound quality.
GM/VP of Advertising & Monetization at Skype, Sandhya Venkatachalam, seems to be very optimistic about the new ads and goes so far to suggest that they “could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day.” In the screenshot example you can see an advert for a Walls Magnum game. I don’t know why it needs a game as this famous ice-cream-on-a-stick is a pretty good conversation topic already.
For privacy concerns you need not worry that Skype is listening to your conversation to target its ads, though that would have been impressive. “We may use non-personally identifiable demographic information (e.g. location, gender and age) to target ads. This will help ensure that non-paying users see ads that are of greater interest and relevance to them. Users can opt-out of allowing Skype to use some of this non-personally identifiable information from the Privacy menu in Tools -> Options of Skype for Windows.”
Adverts in Skype have a potentially huge audience and a few silent ads on free user’s screens would seem to be a tolerable “cost” to users. Skype has over 41 million unique users spending an average time of 13 minutes a day on the service. 78 per cent of Skype users have shopped online within the past 30 days. The adverts will be shown to Windows Skype users in 55 different countries.