CES: HARMAN and AdsWizz partner for uniquely targeted advertising in Aha Radio

Advertising technology company AdsWizz and audio company HARMAN have partnered to provide what are described as unique audio advertising solutions to HARMAN’s Aha Radio product, which is installed in over 50 car models. The partnership will be announced at CES in Las Vegas.

aha radio logoAha Radio is a unique audio station that combines music, text-to-voice social notifications, contextual navigation, news, audio books, and other types of audio content into highly personalized stations. (“Go anywhere. Do anything. Your world is coming with you.”) The app is natively embedded by 14 automakers into over 50 car models. “We did a lot of homework in the space,” Toby Trevarthen, VP Monetization for Aha, told RAIN while describing the match-up of AdsWizz technology with Aha’s automobile distribution strategy. “We required unique integrations because of our multiple head unit scenarios. AdsWizz was able to meet the demand for those unique integrations that allow ad-serving in the car.”

adswizz logoWhy is ad-serving to an audio app in the car so uniquely demanding? After all, Pandora and other apps serve their ads in auto installations. We put that question to Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz, on the phone to his European office before he departed for CES. He described his company’s ability to deliver uniquely fine-tuned audience targeting based not only on the usual age/gender demographics, but also including location of the car, make and model of the car, and the direction it is driving. “For example, a restaurant that has a lunch special, and is coming up in the car’s direction, can place an ad. Or, if a store is selling Ford roof racks, it can advertise to Ford drivers 20 miles from the store, offering a sales coupon.”

Toby Trevarthen’s examples of AdsWizz’s targeting capability included non-advertising notifications. “It goes beyond just advertising. When you think about advertising, you typically are thinking 15 and 30 second spots running adjacent to content. Where we’re going, this could easily be an alert based on certain [real-time contextual] data. If it’s raining outside, and we know that the particular vehicle has traction control features, we could send an alert reminding the driver of the traction control feature.”

The combined vision of these two partners seems to be a mobile audio universe in which advertising and content blend into a stream that is finely contextualized to the user’s preferences and changing real-time needs.

For advertisers, these targeting dimensions — car model, location, direction, environment conditions — represent new possibilities in the quickly emerging world of audience segmenting for audio advertising. As such, the AdsWizz/HARMAN partnership is related to recent audience segmentation work of Pandora and The Echo Nest. Announcing the alliance at CES, the first tech-news venue of the year, is a hallmark that 2014 could be the year that targeted audio advertising matures.

Brad Hill