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Microsoft Unveils “People Powered Stories” Ads that Move Beyond The “Like”

Published on February 15, 2012

Yesterday at Social Media Week in New York, Microsoft’s General Manager of Brand Advertising Jennifer Creegan introduced what she calls “a new social advertising solution I am pretty excited about.” As Creegan describes on her MS blog, “With People Powered Stories (PPS), advertisers can incorporate real peoples’ ratings and reviews about their products within a rich brand ad.” Microsoft partnered with Bazaarvoice, a social marketing monetization provider.

PPS integrates consumer ratings and reviews into the rich PPS ad format (see graphic). Creegan told AdExchanger that the company conducted research across both the consumer and marketer landscapes, and “it became clear that there was a crossover need around word-of-mouth marketing, and specifically, ratings and reviews.”

But those reviews have to be real reviews, with real metrics. In a poke at Facebook, Creegan promises that PPS gives marketers the ability to create ads that “tell powerful stories and create brand relevancy beyond just a ‘Like,’” by including real stories and reviews (see graphic).

Microsoft used itself to pilot PPS, by integrating the ad format into a Windows 7 “back to school” ad campaign, targeting college students in the market for a new computer. The campaign ran across Microsoft properties with targeting capabilities, to ensure a student audience. Microsoft claims that in market tests, the campaign delivered—

  • A boost in ad believability of 20 points above market norms for technology ads
  • A 6.3% lift in purchase intent
  • A 13.5% lift in unaided brand awareness

PPS will be generally available in the coming weeks.