Skype is a social channel that allows people to connect to one another using modern technology. According to Skype, “Skype is for doing things together, whenever you’re apart. Skype’s text, voice and video make it simple to share experiences with the people that matter to you, wherever they are. With Skype, you can share a story, celebrate a birthday, learn a language, hold a meeting, work with colleagues – just about anything you need to do together every day.”
Skype was founded in 2013 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friiswhose. The company was then bought by eBay to help its bidders communicate in a more effective manner. Skype is currently owned by Microsoft, which is great for the company, as Microsoft embeds the program within all its products.
How It Works
Skype provides a unique opportunity for people around the world, and peers, to communicate in real-time without being in the same place. According to Brandon Widder (2013), “Skype is essentially a freemium voice-over-IP service, aka a VoIP, that allows registered users to communicate online via online video calling, instant messaging, and mobile chat.” This is great for companies whose goal is to connect with their fans on a more intimate level.
Skype is the best way for people to connect long distance for free. The channel also has features that allows for multiple-party conversations (great for business meetings), video messaging, and texting. All these features can be accessed for free by downloading the program on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Once downloaded, all that is required for the chatting to begin is Internet connection, an internal or external camera, and a microphone.
To sum it up, Skype is an easy program to use after completing these few simple steps (Widder, 2013):
- Download, Install, and Launch Software
- Create an Account
- Add Contacts-users must be Skype members in order to chat
- Make a Call
Target Market and Analytics
According to Michal Clements (2013), 45.8% of Skype users are moms, and 53.7% of those parents are women. Skype is used more for pleasure than business, but Microsoft is trying to change that by focusing on digital story telling.
Since Microsoft has taken over in 2011, the channel has grown tremendously. As of 2015, Skype has over 300 million users compared to the less than 150 million users it had in 2011. Active users actually utilizing the video talk have also increased, which can be seen in the graph below.
Some interesting Skype statistics (Smith, 2016):
- The mobile app has 750 million downloads.
- Users spend 3 billion minutes on average using Skype. This doesn’t compare to the 2 trillion minutes being used on video calls.
- Skype has 100 million active users in China.
These stats make Skype appealing to brands that market to people looking to make connections. The goal is to promote brands and deepen connections through digital story telling.
Skype markets itself on all major social media channels.
- Facebook—30 million likes
- Twitter–5.09 millions followers
- Youtube—225K subscribers (Most beneficial platform for Skype’s vision.)
Well, just about everyone. However, companies and organizations that focus on human connection have teamed up with Skype to deepen feelings through digital storytelling.
Len Forkas partnered with Skype to promote his new foundation—HopeCam. Len came up with HopeCam watching his son battle Leukemia. He watched is son light up when he would video chat with classmates and friends, so he figured many other patients would benefit from this connection as well. HopeCam, accessed through Skype, allows patients to connect with people during treatments, at home, and even let’s them video message with teachers and submit assignments. Its mission- “HopeCam is a non-profit dedicated to helping children overcome the social isolation caused by cancer treatment.”
In 2014, during the press tour for Marvel’s hit move Guardian of the Galaxy, cast and crew were on a mission to connect deeper with their fans. They partnered up with Skype to conduct group video calls that would allow fans to interact with the stars. With Skype’s mobile features, they were even allowed to connect with fans on the red carpet during movie premiers. This allowed million of fans to get a sneak peek of the movie before it was out in theaters.
Skype also partnered with Xbox, using its YouTube channel to visually show gamers how they can utilize the video messaging during their playtime. Although the video clips were humorous, they were also very informative by showing users how to utilize the program.
Along with these brands, there are many others using Skype to enhance the connection with their audiences. Skype even partnered with education to show teachers how they can bring things to life in their classroom, digitally. In addition, they released the campaign “Family Portraits” on YouTube to tell stories of how Skype has impacted people’s lives.
Skype has gone beyond video messaging and is focusing on the ability of storytelling in real-time. Companies are jumping on board with this vision and magic is being created as a result.
More of a visual leaner? Click here for my Skype Storyboard.