Microsoft has been experimenting with various new ways to create ad platforms on Windows 8 and Xbox, but this week the company is launching a new format designed to create interactive and panoramic adverts within applications. The software giant has teamed up with a number of agencies to create concepts that show off the potential for the new "Ad Pano" ad format.
The new ads are a big change from the traditional pop up and banner ads found on the web. Digital agencies have been experimenting with new ad formats, specifically parallax imagery, for a while now, but Microsoft's approach is similar to Apple's iAds where adverts are designed to be high quality ones that do not disturb the user. iAds are fairly unproven though, with Apple struggling to complete with Google's AdMob service on price and cross-platform appeal.
Top brands involved in initial concept stage
Unlike Apple, Microsoft appears to be willing to test its own ad units within applications it distributes. A Vans interactive ad concept within Skype shows how a touch-triggered ad could launch and interact with a call. A similar Mastercard ad is shown embedded within Microsoft's Bing Travel app, and the Bing Sports app plays host to a Dell interactive ad. These ads aren't limited to Microsoft's own apps though, with a Mercedes-Benz unit shown in the Top Gear app and an interactive All Saints advert in Vice's Windows 8 app. The All Saints ad is particularly unique as it uses a parallax within the app to ensure the actors within the ad always have their eyes focused on the Windows 8 user. They're all designed to get a user to click on additional content in a subtle way.
Microsoft is launching the new format on Windows 8 in the US and UK initially, with adverts available in apps that integrate the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8. While Microsoft has been criticized for including ads within its Xbox dashboard and Windows 8 apps, the latest demonstrations are concept for now, but the company is aiming to scale them and make them more accessible for additional advertisers. If brands buy into them — the pricing is still unknown — and they become popular then we'll likely see a lot more of them in future, vying for your attention as you scroll through a Windows 8 app.