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.
Google+ has been relatively successful, achieving a user base of 90+ million in less than half a year. Google, through its Maps and Places services, already has information on millions of businesses. If the information on each of those business's pages, complete with address, phone number, photos and customer reviews, were put into a Google+ page, Google+ could become a local-business powerhouse.
Google began integrating Google+ into Google Maps last September, to allow users to share information embedded with the maps. With the launch of brand pages, it only makes sense to similarly tie Google+ to the business listings on Google Places.
Moreover, Google Offers would mesh well with all this available information, integrating deal offers with places that people search for and check in to.