Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, launched on 26th October to much fanfare from the tech press. However, the startling overhaul of the user interface has caused many windows users to scratch their collective heads. Gone are the trusty old start button and the desktop shortcuts, replaced as they are by a tile system more familiar to the Window mobile environment.
So what has this new operating system to offer digital marketeers? Well, one of the features of the Windows 8 is the ability to customise the homescreen with live tiles. These tiles update the user with relevant content, allowing brands to feature media-rich ads (thanks in part to the OS’s inclusion of HTML 5). At least 25 advertisers have signed up so far, including 20th Century Fox and Nissan, which are both running global campaigns. ESPN has also been one of the first to build a cross-platform app that provides live updates of sporting events. While the consumer benefits from the dynamic sporting updates, ESPN also net gains in terms of consumer engagement and brand integration across a range of platforms.
The assimilation of Xbox Live, Lovefilm and Blinkbox, which come pre-installed, bring advertising content opportunities across the Windows 8 ecosystem (which includes desktop, mobile and tablet devices). By creating a convergence in user interfaces, brands can create exciting cross platform apps as a means to engage with their customers and become an integral part of their digital experience.
From the end-user perspective this is a double-edged sword. The investment into quality apps, that improve our productivity and enjoyment on PC and mobile devices, could be a real boon. However, brand intrusion into our workspace, if done inelegantly, could backfire, creating a negative brand association. Only time will tell how this will be used but, for better or worse, it marks a growing trend of content driven advertising and app integration.