At a Social Media Week panel on Tuesday, Microsoft’s advertising division revealed an upcoming product: social display advertising. Some new features will allow brands to build on traditional banner ads by embedding user-generated content like blog posts, product reviews, and videos directly within the ad. Campaigns featuring these “People Powered Stories” are expected to launch in April on all Microsoft-owned sites and sites part of the company’s publisher network and will be available only to Microsoft’s premium advertisers for now.
Microsoft will partner with social commerce company Bazaarvoice to supply the product reviews and ratings, all written by users, but also hopes to expand to include content such as tweets, discussion board comments, and more in the future.
Brant Barton, cofounder of Bazaarvoice, commented that shoppers who interact with a product rating or review online are more than 100 percent more likely to purchase than consumers who don’t consume that content. Initial testing has been positive, with the audience showing much greater purchase intent, more time spent on the ad, and a higher rating of believability and authenticity in comparison to traditional campaigns.