South Africa’s large Skype community – 1.5 million users and growing – offers advertisers access to one of the country’s most deeply engaged and active digital audiences.
That’s according to Ian Drummond, digital sales manager at Mediamark, who reports strong local demand for Skype advertising solutions since they were first launched in South Africa in 2012. Mediamark is the South African advertising sales house for Microsoft’s digital and mobile properties, including Skype, MSN and Outlook.com.
Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011, offers excellent branding and marketing opportunities for South African advertisers, with a number of mobile and desktop formats on offer including large static display, interactive and video advertisements. Skype is also constantly adding new formats and tools to the mix – one example is conversation corridors. This new targeting capability allows advertisers to deliver unique messaging to Skype users who have historically communicated with specific geographic regions.
Be part of the Skype experience
Drummond says that Skype’s strength as an advertising platform lies in how deeply engaged its users are with the platform in their daily lives. Some 50% of South African users interact with Skype more than twice a week, and they spend an average of 30 minutes on each call.
One in four users click on ads in Skype – one reason for this is that Skype is a trusted environment where users make their most personal and human connections with others. “For advertisers, the benefit is that that they get to be part of an experience that helps 340 million people around the world to get closer to their friends, families and colleagues every day,” says Drummond. “Skype offers brands an opportunity to interact with a captive audience in a focused manner.”
Skype’s multi-screen effect
Another advantage of Skype is that it is perfectly aligned with the multi-screen trend, where users access digital services and platforms through a range of devices. For example, it’s not uncommon for users to use Skype on a PC as well as a tablet or smartphone. In South Africa, 1.1 million users use Skype on PC, 630,000 on mobile devices, and 230,000 on both.
Says Drummond: “Here, advertisers can build compelling multi-screen journeys and campaigns for customers that use more than one screen – an important way of reinforcing the brand message across different touch points.
“Brands can connect with customers when they’re in different emotional states and in different contexts. And they can also extend their reach by accessing the large and growing mobile-only population.”
Drummond recommends that brands use Skype’s native capabilities when creating Skype campaigns. For example, a creative execution that invites people to take a photo or record a video can get great traction and engagement from users. Advertisers should also make use of Skype’s granular targeting capabilities to target customers by geography, demographic profile, context, day-part, access method, or behaviour.
Drummond says: “Skype has proven to be an exciting addition to our portfolio of digital advertising offering and slots in perfectly with our focus on offering our clients converged media solutions. By enabling brands to create rich, seamlessly integrated ad experiences, we can help them to build deeper relationships with their customers.”