It is exciting to bring new advertising technology to the audio content marketplace, but it is also a complex undertaking. We learned quickly that success required us to bring value to consumers, advertisers and publishers alike. To achieve success, we knew we would also need to make the solution scalable for all three groups. Many people quickly grasp that advertising technologies must be scalable to very large transaction volumes. The technical scalability requirements are an absolute necessity. However, other scalability considerations such as the consumer interaction model are equally important.
“Getting It” the First Time
When the XAPP team speaks of consumer scalability, we are considering whether people grasp the interaction model the first time they hear it. When the first ‘clickable’ banner ad ran in 1994, there was no precedent for clicking on a colorful rectangle to receive more information from an advertiser. That first ad included a variant of “Click Here,” to train viewers that an action could be taken. That explicit call to action was necessary to prompt consumers about a new type of interaction.
When we developed XAPP Ads, we faced further complexity because the call to action can vary. Whereas banner ads could only accommodate a ‘click’ to execute the call the action, XAPP Ads can accommodate a wide variety of phrases to trigger a Voice ClickTM. To address this variety, we leverage a short prompt in the spoken script that tells consumers exactly what to say to engage. For example, a script may say: “To claim your 20% off coupon, after the beep, say ‘send coupon.’” The requirement of the consumer is unambiguous if the offer interests them.
We also use a short tone to indicate when the caller should start speaking. Consumers are used to this interaction model from its use in voicemail and answering machines. We want to make sure consumers can get it right the first time they hear an interactive audio ad. Using the call to action prompt for what to say, combined with a tone to indicate when to start speaking, establishes an interaction model that is easy to understand and familiar even if the ad format is not. Ad flights on NPR have shown that XAPP Ads are scalable in terms of immediate consumer interaction. There is no break-in period required.
Telling Consumers Exactly What They Will Get
The other essential element is clarity. You should ensure that consumers are not surprised when they respond to the prompted call to action. The consumer interaction model tells listeners exactly what action will be performed when they engage by voice. In the example above, a coupon will be emailed to the consumer. Two other common calls to action are ‘Download App’ and ‘Call Now.’ Saying the first action phrase will initiate the app download process and the second will dial the phone automatically, connecting the consumer instantly with the brand, hands free and eyes free.
Keeping it Simple
To make a consumer interaction model scalable, it is critical to keep it simple. By telling consumers what to say, when to say it and what will happen, we focused on making XAPP Ads easy to use the first time, while establishing a familiar experience. Many voice-oriented solutions try to do too much, which leads to user frustration. XAPP Ads are designed to achieve a clear objective: drive higher response rates for audio advertising! Making consumer interaction simple ensures users can respond successfully the first time they hear a XAPP Ad.
Our next post will discuss how XAPP Ads were designed to be scalable for advertisers as well.