Microsoft puts in new tile-based ad format in Outlook.com

While we are still waiting for the promised Skype integration for Outlook.com, Microsoft's advertising division has just launched a new ad format for the web email service that has a tile-like interface. In fact, Microsoft calls the new format versaTiles.

Microsoft's advertising blog has the details on versaTiles, which is now available in the U.S. and Brazil versions of Outlook.com and will be added to other countries in the near future. Basically, one advertiser can purchase the right side of the Outlook.com webpage, which has between four or five ad tiles. Each tile can be customized to create a different promotional experience.

The video above shows off an example of how versaTiles is supposed to work. People can take their cursor and over over each title to activate the ad. One tile might run a TV commercial, while another can generate a series of slides that offer more information about the product. Yet another tile might be used to bring up links to various retail websites where people can purchase the product in question.

Microsoft does have to generate revenues to run Outlook.com and these new interactive tile ads at least look different than the normal banner ads that we see on some websites. It remains to be seen if Outlook.com users will actually click and interact with this new style of ad.

Source: Microsoft

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Either Tracking Protection List blocked the advertisements, or advertisements are not shown in my region (Hong Kong), I can't see any advertisements since migration to Outlook.com BETA.

Even if it will be shown in future, I am fine with it: In Gmail, you see advertisements in every email when you open it; in Outlook.com it is shown in list view only.

Besides advertisements, I find the UI to compose email in Outlook.com is better than Gmail. The recent changes in Gmail forces me to look at a small area to type. When I maximize the compose form, the format tools are dropped to the bottom, and some format options are hidden until you mouse-over the toolbar.

Ashleighhank said,
so much for no ads in outlook. hm. i think gmail is very powerful than outlook and i will keep using gmail.
If my memory recalls, ads has always been there since the beginning of outlook.com. This is nothing new really except how it responds when hover it. Frankly, I don't hoover over any of these ads so they don't bother at all.

This is exactly why I didn't migrate to outlook.com...while I liked it, I can absolutely count on Microsoft to either discontinue or F it up in some way. That said, it sounds interesting, in a Facebook wishes they thought of it kind of way. Who the hell would prefer this to anything else with no ads is beyond me, I have enough distractions in my life. Have fun.

Hahaiah said,
This is exactly why I didn't migrate to outlook.com...while I liked it, I can absolutely count on Microsoft to either discontinue or F it up in some way. That said, it sounds interesting, in a Facebook wishes they thought of it kind of way. Who the hell would prefer this to anything else with no ads is beyond me, I have enough distractions in my life. Have fun.
Google and Microsoft are offering a FREE service at the trade-off for ads. You are free to choose something else, but just because it has ads doesn't mean that people won't use it. Heck, Google search engine has a ton of ads. You might as well stop using it, or any other search engines. How do you suppose MS fvked it up? By adding ads on the side? How is this any different from Gmail or Yahoo? Regardless, it's your choice.

techbeck said,
Yea, I will stick with GMAIL. No ads at all when messing around with email.

I will say to you what people say to me when I gripe about Google's stubborn, narrow-minded, thick-headed refusal to implement basic sorting functionality to the inbox:

Use an offline client if you don't like it so much.

/"Why would you want to sort when you can search?"
//"Just search! It's better than sorting!"
///"ONE OF US. ONE OF US."

Joshie said,

Use an offline client if you don't like it so much.

Will use what I like/prefer. I never felt the need to sort my inbox like that. Tho, I always keep my emails clean, non cluttered, and sorted. So I never have the need to do so.

It's already hidden. The ads are revealed only if you mouse over the right hand side of the screen, which isn't part of the mail area. So it seems you won't accidently trigger the ads.

While I hate advertisements, I actually LOVE this. Very minimal and clean, doesn't interfere with the current layout, and it actually looks fun. I think advertisers will like this too since it's not simply text ads that no one reads anyway, but interactive, so those that do want to read just have to hover.

Hmm.. not be scroogled and have images in my ads? I think I'll just be scroogled then. So glad I only evaluated outlook.com and didn't go balls deep.

Wait I thought "only evil Gmail had advertising." Where are all the people that were hailing Outlook as the second coming a few months ago?

And do you really think Microsoft isn't using your data for targeted ads? Lol.
Minimally they'll target with your signup info and keyword scan of subject line. For now. I'm sure when they think nobody's looking they'll get more aggressive, start scanning emails and make the tiles louder and more intrusive like what happened to the xbox dashboard.

Edited by Dudebroh, Apr 24 2013, 7:25am :

Because Outlook.com does not show ads when reading or writing an email.
And if you want to know what data is used by MS for target ads... read their privacy policy before jerking around on the internet spreading your FUD.
Microsoft never has the advantage of 'when nobody is looking'. And they cant afford to screw up the battle for internet dominance.

Shadowzz said,

Microsoft never has the advantage of "when nobody is looking"

tell that to Windows Defender about what they do to ad.doubleclick.com lines in hosts file.

Edited by Torolol, Apr 24 2013, 10:30am :

They never said they wouldn't have ads. Just that they wouldn't show you ads that are relevant to what's in your inbox.

drtz said,
They never said they wouldn't have ads. Just that they wouldn't show you ads that are relevant to what's in your inbox.

I really don't care about the relevant of ads to my inbox. But I much prefer text only ads to images. Personal preference. We all have them.

God dammit! Now we have to look at tiles in our emails? I dream tiles now. Tiles on the phone, tile on the tablet, tiles on the desktop, freaking tiles everywhere...........aawwwww..........