With all the rage over Siri, it was only a matter of time before interactive voice advertising emerged. Well, the ads are officially here.
Nuance Communications has unveiled "Voice Ads," a new mobile-advertising format that lets people have a two-way conversation with brands. Voice Ads integrates Nuance's voice technology to morph traditional mobile ads into more engaging conversational experiences.
"Voice Ads redefines the relationship between consumers and mobile advertising, giving them an opportunity to engage with brands in a more meaningful way," said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile. "Voice has already changed the mobile interface, making it faster and easier for consumers to discover and access information, and find people and content. Mobile advertising shouldn't be any different, and should be designed specifically around the unique capabilities of the mobile device."
Conversation Drives Ad Experience
According to eMarketer, mobile ad spending around the world more than doubled in 2012 from $4 billion in 2011 to $8.41 billion. The firm anticipates that spending will approach $37 billion by 2016.
Despite the explosive growth, mobile ad revenue still lags behind the larger-screened PC and Internet TV experiences. The billion-dollar question in all these billions is this: How can advertisers create a more engaging experience that compels the consumer to act? Nuance believes nothing is more engaging or natural than a conversation.
Here's how it works: Nuance Voice Ads is optimized for mobile device capabilities, such as location awareness, mobility, and voice input. An ad appears and prompts the consumer to participate by speaking to it. From there, the conversation drives the experience, which is tailored to meet both the needs of the brand and the consumer.
For Better or Worse
Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, told us in one sense this is like radio or audio advertising with a novel twist: the user can interact with the ad.
"These new voice ads could be quite successful but that will depend on ad agency and the execution of the creative concept," Sterling said. "A cleverly conceived and executed campaign could provide added impact and lift. However, a poorly executed ad could equally be annoying or worse."
Nuance has partnered with leading companies in the mobile advertising ecosystem for distribution. Creative advertising agencies include Digitas, OMD and Leo Burnett. Mobile advertising companies such as Millennial Media, Jumptap and Opera Mediaworks (AdMarvel, Mobile Theory, and 4th Screen), will provide distribution to more than 100,000 app publishers and hundreds of millions of consumers globally.
"Voice Ads is a game changer," said Martin Lindstrom, branding expert and best-selling author of Buyology and Brandwashed. "Brands can create lasting impressions by getting users to vocally engage in the ad experiences. Never before has a brand been able to have a personal dialog with over a billion users. This is the mass intimacy brands have been craving."