Leeds-based digital marketing agency Bolser has partnered with Microsoft Global Channel Marketing in Redmond, Washington, to create a new advertising platform for retailers worldwide.
The new platform lets retailers host ads showing real-time live streams generated by Xbox Interactive Studios (XiS) on their company websites.
These ads show gameplay footage live and allow consumers to interact with gamers in real time to ask questions about the games they are playing.
The innovative platform supports Xbox’s key products comprising Games, Xbox Games Pass and the new Xbox Series X and S. It delivers live streaming and on-demand gaming content to the websites of more than 30 major global retail partners.
Ashley Bolser, managing director said: “We are seeing more and more people around the world watching live streams of games being played. In fact, in many cases there are more people watching live streams than playing the games themselves.
“This offers a huge opportunity for retailers and it’s been fantastic to work with Microsoft Global Channel Marketing to develop this innovative new offering. We’ve managed to create something that offers a fantastic opportunity for greater engagement, which is good news for both gamers and retailers.”
The new advertising platform was designed and developed by Bolser and provides a video carousel that can promote more than 100 gaming titles through video. The ads can also be tailored to include retailer-specific calls to action and gaming information.
To offer online advertising based around real-time live streaming, Bolser and Microsoft integrated Microsoft’s cloud platform Microsoft Azure and Video Indexer along with key live streaming platforms Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Gaming.
Bolser also worked with Microsoft to build from the ground up an entirely new, state-of-the-art content management system, which enables location-based video tagging and improved functionality.
These features allow retailers to post more than 300 videos per quarter, with early tests indicating that the use of live stream and on-demand gaming content in ads drives a significant increase in sales.
The XiS platform also uses Microsoft’s Azure Speech to Text technology to bring live subtitles to the video experience, making it accessible to all.
Joseph Reid, senior partner and channel marketing manager at Microsoft Global Channel Marketing, said: “Working with Bolser feels like a team collaboration, allowing creativity mixed with business impact. They listen well, and the ebb and flow of conversations on customer user interface and experience, technical do-ability and impact performance ultimately creates a win-win for all key stakeholders.
“Their work builds for today, but always has the thought process and technical foundation to evolve for the future – keeping costs and future experiences in mind. Bolser performs like a top-level creative agency, but has the relationship and rapport of a boutique firm”
Bolser was founded in 2001 and provides digital marketing consultancy including web and app development to a range of clients including Discovery Channel, AIG and Taco Bell.