• Reaching and generating voice conversions with “ultramobile” audio consumers.
  • 2-way communication with advertisers.
  • Streamlined and safe advertising.

In the past it was impossible to evade advertisers. You had a small selection of channels through which you could listen or watch, and so were the subject of bombardment by one-directional calls to action. With digital the channels proliferated, but the ads remained the same. First movers into the online space (notably Youtube and other players that emerged from the western market) have become a little more fair, or nuanced, allowing users to skip ads. Now we have a highly mobile audience that isn’t always staring at a screen: an audience that is often multitasking (driving, exercising, studying and working) while consuming media. This presents new challenges.

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Innovative platforms continue to test new ways to advertise. Look at prominent foreign online music platforms such as Spotify and Pandora. Spotify – a digital music streaming service – recently announced that it would begin serving video ads to its audio listeners. This move presumes users will be focusing on their interface while listening. More recently, US online radio service Pandora launched sponsored listening, which enables users to skip audio ads for one hour in return for watching a video ad instead. But again, the idea is predicated on the fact that users will have their faces glued to a screen.

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The reality, according to XAPP Media, is that youths are becoming “ultramobile”. They experience content in a hands-free context while multitasking. This trend is exaggerated in China, where mobile Internet users have far surpassed desktop users. The latest figures from nextweb.com show 81% of Internet users connect via mobile here in China. Conclusion: digital music platforms (that mostly depend on advertising revenue to operate) are serving ads to the interior of youths’ pockets.

So what’s next? Audio ads with voice-recognition functionality. That is, an ad where “click-through” is activated by the recipient’s voice. The buzz surrounding XAPP Media’s advertising solutions talks about ‘2-way communication’ – this is a bit of a stretch but looking at their sales videos, it does seem this is the way things could go. Conversion via voice is safe, and provides a streamlined approach. So far, commands elicit set responses from the ads including downloading an app, a podcast, or making a phone call to a sales rep. All the interactions are prompted by the user’s voice according to a specific phrase. If the ad fails to identify the command, the ad is skipped so the user experience isn’t interrupted.

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XAPP Media co-founder and CEO Pat Higbie states “Think of it as a voice click that is configurable per ad.”

Conclusion: Voice click makes sense to advertisers who are targeting a generation of consumers who experience media on the go.