Microsoft has started putting ads in Outlook on iOS and Android and the response from users has been less than accepting.
What’s the deal. In Outlook users have two options for organizing their inbox. You have a “focused” tab with important mail and an “other” tab with everything else. Previously Microsoft had only put the ads in the “other” tab for free subscribers, but now users are starting to see ads in the “focused” inbox as well.
A negative response. Microsoft has been rolling out the new ads for a few months. Free users are finding it more difficult to avoid ads in Outlook mobile. However, Outlook mobile app users aren’t thrilled and many have been leaving one-star review complaints on Apple’s App Store. Seemingly the only way to avoid ads is to pay for a Microsoft 365 subscription.
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What Microsoft says. “For free users of Outlook, ads are shown in their inbox and they can choose to enable the ‘Focused inbox’ feature if they would like to see ads only in the ‘Other’ inbox,” says Microsoft spokesperson Caitlin Roulston in a statement to The Verge.
Why we care. To the public, the ads may be a nuisance. This could be an attempt by Microsoft to gain more paying 365 customers. Or they’re finally caching up to Google who launched Gmail ads in 2013.
If you’re an advertiser, this could be a great opportunity for you to capitalize on a less competitive placement. In 2019 we wrote up a guide to winning with Gmail ads. To our knowledge, Microsoft hasn’t released any best practices around email ads, but if they do we’ll be sure to update you.