Here at XAPP, we have a good time recounting the statement from the 2011 IAB Digital Audio Advertising Overview: “Of course, it is impossible to click on an ad that is purely audio in nature.” We turned more than a few heads in the ad industry when formally announcing our XAPP Ads service last month. Visual display ads use mouse or touch clicks, while XAPP Ads use Voice ClicksTM. Audio has been looking for its visual counterpart to allow users to take action. The Voice Click has arrived.
Beyond Visual Engagement for an Audio World
Internet radio has certainly attempted to introduce engagement and conversion advertising into mobile and desktop apps through banners, tiles and visual rich media. The problem that the IAB was stating is that these are not purely audio ads. They combine visual with audio and the only opportunity for engagement is when listeners happen to be looking at the display screen. At the time, the statement was correct. If you were “purely” listening, then you could not click.
Aligning Engagement with the Listening Experience
At XAPP, we recognize that the listening experience, particularly on mobile devices, rarely involves looking at the screen. More often than not, the audio app is in the background and not visible on the device. It is also frequently behind a lock screen or in a pocket, purse or cup holder in your car. In addition, when consumers are ultramobile and must, by necessity, listen hands free, eyes free because they are driving, walking, exercising or working, they cannot interact with on-screen ad elements.
All of these scenarios have one thing in common – the display is not visible. Therefore, the likelihood of engagement and conversion are low even when the audio ad creative runs.
The Audio Ad Runs Anyway
And that’s an important point. The audio ad runs whether or not the screen is visible. If you are a brand marketer interested only in CPM-based awareness advertising, this may not be a problem. If you are looking for consumer engagement or conversion, it represents a wasted opportunity. In the visual display world, the ad doesn’t count as an impression if the app is in the background and cannot be seen. With audio, as long as the speakers or headphones are engaged, the ad is an impression.
The question we posed at XAPP was “how do we leverage the strengths of audio with the desire for engagement and conversion?” By leveraging the on-device microphone and tying it to automated actions, we provide the first voice-click conversion in audio ads.
Voice Click, the Natural Response for Audio Engagement
What is more natural than responding to audio with your voice? We are conditioned in infancy to communicate this way to engage with others. XAPP Ads harness this familiar experience and enable consumers to claim advertised offers by voice. Voice activated engagement provides convenience for consumers and enables spontaneous responses, whereas other advertising formats require additional steps.
Voice clicks reduce the distance between consumers and advertised offers that they find appealing. This increases the likelihood of conversion for advertisers. The IAB’s next report on audio advertising will no doubt include some new definitions that include the Voice Click.