Interactive Audio Ads were introduced to the world on April 8, 2014 with the now famous Lumber Liquidators Ad that allowed NPR Listeners to download an app simply by saying, “Download App.” Since then, advertisers as diverse as Amazon, Ford, Cleveland Clinic, Fox Searchlight Pictures, StubHub, SmartCar, Columbia University and others have adopted the solution. What were the results? Conversion rates far higher than other mobile advertising formats.
Listeners Don’t See Visual Creative
In retrospect, it seems obvious. Whether listening to a traditional broadcast station or the latest streaming app, people don’t watch radio. Banners and other visual formats underperform because consumers are listening to audio; they aren’t looking at it.
Data backs this up: 78.58% of mobile listening is done when the app is not visible on the screen. If you want consumer engagement on mobile radio, voice interaction is the most logical approach with the least amount of friction. By providing Interactive Audio Ads and Content Discoveries, XAPPmedia helps audio app publishers and advertisers create more effective connections between consumers and offers.
Supporting Many Types of Engagement
It was exciting for team XAPP to see how advertisers used the new creative options offered by interactive audio. Several advertisers focused on driving app downloads. These included a Cleveland Clinic app with a tremendous amount of health information for everyday situations. StubHub also embraced the concept with the objective of putting instant access to live event tickets on your smartphone. A Carbonite ad allowed consumers to say, “Call Now” and immediately be connected with a sales agent for a special deal on cloud-based digital storage. Movie studios prompted consumers to say, “Watch Video” to instantly view trailers during their pre-launch promotion period for Golden Globe winners The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything.
Another campaign by Mack Avenue Records exploited the capabilities of XAPP Ads even further. The ad unit first described a new artist, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and offered to let users listen to a sample of her music by saying, “Listen Now.” After the audio sample played, if the consumer was interested in purchasing the music they could say, “Purchase Now” to purchase the music. Over 18% of consumers that listened to the sample actually went to the purchase page. This opens up a host of opportunities for digital commerce that wouldn’t be available to advertisers on broadcast radio or those that rely solely on visual display for conversion.
Brand Building Through Content Discovery
One of the best performing Interactive Audio campaigns was run by Ford that promoted content for the series “Changing Lives of Women.” This fell into the category of a sponsored Content Discovery as opposed to an ad. The content was intriguing and Ford made the savvy decision to sponsor it. The conversion rate was nearly 8% for the campaign. This presented a brand opportunity to associate with high quality audio content in a simple and engaging format that seemed native to the media environment.
How Do Interactive Audio Ads Perform
We will have more detail on Interactive Audio Ad performance available later this month. However, here are a few statistics. It is well know that banner ad conversions typically average between 0.08% to 0.11%. Mobile display ads on visual mobile sites or in-app often do better and may be as high as 0.4% according to Marin Software. Mobile display on audio apps when the screen is dark is trending in our data as low as 0.01%. That is not surprising given that the consumer is not looking at the ad creative. Think of this as attention deficit advertising.
By contrast Interactive Audio Ad performance on audio app platforms ranges from 1.09% – 7.86% conversion rate and sponsored content discoveries range from 2.04% – 14.15%. This is an enormous difference from other digital engagement formats. The superior performance is driven by better alignment between the call to action method of voice interaction and the audio medium. The ability to respond by voice while listening dramatically reduces the friction for consumers to connect with brands and content. It’s an entirely new and measurable way to think about consumer engagement and conversion through audio advertising.
2015 Will Bring More Advertiser Options
Team XAPP is excited about 2015. We will be introducing new publisher options as well as new engagement actions. Based on numerous meetings in late 2014, we know that expanded publisher reach is a high priority among advertisers and we are committed to delivering on the request. If you would like to learn more about Interactive Audio Ads, feel free to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.