Skype is launching its first ad platform, with Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa Inaugural among the first companies to try out the format. The advertising will appear in the Home tab in Skype, starting this week, the company says. Ads will appear in the US, UK and Germany initially and then roll out on a wider basis.
Consumers will only see ads occasionally, with the initial plan being to show an ad from one brand per day in each of the markets where advertising is being sold. Skype will be using "non-personally identifiable demographic data" such as location, gender and age to target ads, and it will provide an opt out of this targeting in the Privacy tab in Tools Options.
Even with its limited rollout, Skype’s advertisers will have a wide audience. The number of global mobile voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) users will reach 107 million by 2012, according to a white paper from Juniper Research. (via MarketingCharts). Of 107 million mobile VoIP users expected by 2012, more than half will reside in North America and Europe, owing to the fact that 3G, which is required for mobile VoIP to be effective, has been rolled out in those regions.