Bringing People Powered Stories into Brand Advertising

Earlier today, Jennifer Creegan introduced People Powered Stories, which is something I’m proud to have been a part of the effort to bring it to market. It’s a new way for advertisers to incorporate real peoples’ ratings and reviews about their products within a rich brand ad. 

A few quotes that I want to highlight from Jenn’s blog post include the results of some research we did with marketers currently spending significant amounts on social advertising:

The top two reasons advertisers invest in social media is to drive word of mouth and brand awareness (27% and 26% respectively).

72% of advertisers said measuring ROI on social media campaigns is too difficult.

Advertisers believe 65% of word of mouth misses the intended audience.

73% of those advertisers surveyed said they want to make sure the ratings and reviews they curate online reach their target audience (which is more than ‘Likes’, ‘Tweets’ and any other source we asked about).

Advertisers are so interested in ratings and reviews because, as Jenn explains in the video, 45% of consumers go to ratings and review sites when making a buying decision. This research tells me that we’re on the right track to offer our new People Powered Stories ad product, especially when we see the results of our first pilot of the ad unit:

The campaign drove great improvement across many marketing metrics, including:

· 14% lift in brand favorability

· 6.3% lift in purchase intent

· 18% lift in unaided brand awareness

For more details, a demo and an interview with Jenn, please see the blog post on


Hotmail’s Large and Engaged Audience

At work, I focus on Microsoft Advertising. We sell ads that appear on MSN, Hotmail, Messenger, Skype, Xbox LIVE and so on. Anand Babu just posted a blog about using SkyDrive, which has all sorts of interesting bits of information and pointers to get better use out of SkyDrive. But, what sparked my interest as someone in the advertising industry was this:

Every day, the average office worker receives over 170 email messages a day, and sends over 35. With that kind of volume, it’s understandable that over half of the average work day consists of dealing with email. That’s over 1000 hours a year.

In Hotmail alone, there are over 1 billion email messages sent with file attachments per week.

I was surprised to learn this and it made me realize that it’s a great proof point for advertisers to realize that we’ve got a large and engaged audience. See for more information about advertising on Hotmail.