Mi9 is locally launching the versaTiles ad format it rolled out across the Tasman about six months ago, which it says makes it more accessible for advertisers to spread their message via email.
The local versaTiles release follows Hotmail’s relaunch as Outlook.com, which has 1.2 million account holders in New Zealand.
Mi9 is owned by Australia's Nine Entertainment, with Outlook.com developer Microsoft as long term strategic partner.
New Zealand commercial director Dan Robertson says the launch performed well in Australia and over the last few months Mi9 has been fine tuning the service to make it more approachable.
"It's about having a quality brand integrated into that site where the user can engage with it as they choose. It's not saying [the ads will] will jump out at you all the time. That's very much Microsoft's approach with these things now."
The ad service offers templates that can be filled with content as simple or as interactive as an advertiser chooses, for a set cost of $10 per impression, he says.
Microsoft user data allows behavioural targeting and segmentation by demographics like age and gender. "In the past email has been caught up in that performance environment. Now it's about how do we pull it back and put it in a premium position?," says Robertson.
With 60 percent less advertising in Outlook.com than in Hotmail, there's a drive to offer "cleaner" experiences to account holders but also exclusivity to advertisers to make a bigger impression and give broad reach, says Mi9.
"We want to make sure people are getting what they want to see,' Robertson says. "It shouldn't be intrusive. That's why we're doing the targeting, it's good value to you and to the advertiser."