Microsoft has launched a new ad format for its Outlook.com email service called VersaTiles. The ads appear in the right rail of the email service and are designed to be interactive.
The video below from Microsoft shows how the ads work:
As you can see from the video, the ads require user interaction to get the full ad experience. There are three ad states. The default state, shown at log-in, can feature an advertiser’s logo (like the Duracell example in the video above) and ad text. Hover state allows users to see more information and images when they hover over each tile. If a user clicks on a tile, the ad goes to Click state where the information and media offered differs by the template. Here is an example of an ad from LivingSocial in Click state:
The ads are available in three templates:
- Online Retailer: For advertisers to showcase a product or a service, and connect consumers to online distributors. This template is designed to locate brick and mortar retail outlets with Bing Maps integration and product or service details showing the tile experience. (The LivingSocial screenshot above uses this template.)
- Media Showcase: This format uses a combination of video, image galleries and text. The template is applicable to multiple verticals aiming at building awareness and consumer engagement.
- Catalog: Applies to campaigns that feature multiple products. The first tile shows the theme of the campaign and the others feature different products.
The VersaTile ads are currently being sold in the U.S. and Brazil and will be available in several other markets soon. Outlook.com came out of preview in February, and all Hotmail accounts were migrated to the service. Outlook.com now claims more than 60 million users.