Windows Live MailPeople are creatures of habit. The majority of what we do online is hang around our favourite news, entertainment and social networks – and communication is by far the largest part of our daily internet usage. Our comfort sites make up 60% of our usage, and physically ‘browsing’ and exploring the web is actually less than 10% of what we do today; where as communication is over 30%. Just look at the way you spend your day online, even when on the move – and that ever growing inbox! That is why the global certification of Eyeblaster on the new Windows Live Mail system is such an important part of targeted online advertising.

Hotmail has always been one of the dominant players in terms of free email clients for both consumers and business users alike; surprisingly over 30% of business email is transmitted via Hotmail. As an ad-funded email client, it has always been a viable alternative to those not willing to pay for Outlook – the industry leading business email client.

The new Windows Live Mail is a next generation of email client that is actually a replacement for Outlook Express. Microsoft has made it easy to manage multiple mail accounts and so much more; e.g. integration with other Windows Live services, such as Messenger. There is also a desktop version to complement the browser-based version.

So why all the fuss on this change from an online marketing perspective? Penetration of ad-funded communication is naturally a key aspect, but there are other significant reasons that are important considerations for advertisers.

From my own observations of consumer behaviour within email clients, looking at campaign data, it seems fair to deduce that when a person in that ‘communication mindset’, consumers often want to take a moment’s break from writing mail to ‘play’ whilst they think. Allowing them to explore brands in situation is therefore an important aspect of the type of advertising that works in an email environment, as there is a huge reluctance to “click” here – at least until the user has reached the “sent mail” page. I always advise that you are one third likely to click ads when reading and writing mail compared to when you have sent your mail.

We are also more poised to typing, so data-capture tends to be incredibly effective around email – a great way to add a DR aspect to a campaign that actually carries far more weight for advertisers ROI than a mere click.

And naturally we are chatting with friends and colleagues – so it is a primary position to start your web 2.0 campaign. Instigating consumers to talk about brands, facilitating a ‘tear-and-share’ viral affect via widgets – or real time updates of offers that people can forward-to-a friend; whether theatre show times, to last-minute breaks, to automotive test drives in their vicinity or an offer to taste that new chocolate bar – these are all illustrations of how to work effectively with email clients.

Just be sympathetic to consumers natural reluctance to click and treat any roll-over or expansions with a positive creative reward for consumers, and you are going to find a great way to utilise this environment to your brands’ advantage.

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