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.