Meebo has released a new instant messaging product for websites with a new ad format that places ad messages between user responses. According to Adweek, once the text message is clicked it will activate a pop-up window with a multimedia commercial. And if the chatter engages with the ad that interaction is noted in the chat. The idea is to then spur conversation among users about the brand.
In this way, Meebo hopes to solve the conundrum facing many social-networking sites and applications: find an ad unit that takes advantage of their social aspects, rather than rely on banners that appear on editorial sites. These new type of ads are being called Spark Ads.
Martin Green, VP of Business at Meebo says, “If they accept the invitation, the brand marketer can get three minutes with them.” Green believes this will stop brands from being a side note, causing them to be ignored as they have been in the past. If consumers are invited to interact with the brand they will be more drawn to that brand.
The Adweek articles says that Microsoft and the major record labels have signed on to use the Spark Ads. As well as several publishers, including Flixter and PopSugar have also enrolled.
Those using Meebo chatrooms are already aware of these ads. The chat function was made available to company websites in January, and will be part of a Facebook-like chat service be released by Meebo in the fall.
Meebo says that in intial tests the ads get 1 percent interaction rates. And users have to click the link the open the ad. Since the text links can be ignored it makes them less intrusive. I’ve just never been so bored in a chat that I’d rather read an advertisement.