Today XAPPmedia, a leading audio ad technology company, will announce the launch of XAPP Ads, which the company describes as “the first interactive audio advertising service for Internet radio publishers.” RAIN got an advance look/listen, and chatted with XAPPmedia CEO Pat Higbie.
XAPP ads leverage patent-pending technology to provide voice-activated direct response to a streaming commercial’s exact call to action. Examples of supported direct responses include sending an email to the listener, sending a coupon, dialing a phone number, and downloading a mobile app. The system is hands-free and eyes-free, targeted to what XAPPmedia calls the “ultramobile” consumer.
Here is a sample audio ad featuring launch partner NPR, with the call-to-action at the end. (The voice activation is simulated in this example.)
CEO Pat Higbie says the system plants a stake in uncharted ad-tech territory. “It’s unique in the audio market. This is the first ad format that allows you to interact by voice. What’s unique is that we use a typical radio ad format, then prompt the user for a specific request. The user just has to respond to that exact request.”
The company is keeping the user experience simple and explicit. “We believe that making it simple is critical to it working well,” explained Higbie, before verbally jabbing another voice-activation platform. “It can’t be like Siri, where it only knows what you’re talking about half the time.”
XAPP Ads works on the iOS and Android mobile operating systems. There is an obvious connected-car angle to this — in-car listening is naturally suited to voice activation that doesn’t require looking at a screen or touching it. We asked Pat Higbie whether XAPPmedia would undertake partnerships with automakers which use self-contained digital dashboards. First things first, according to Higbie: “Most of what’s going on in the car today is really happening by integrating with the driver’s phone. That capability is getting more embedded in the car, but the starting point is to work well with people using their phones in the car.”
“We’re focusing on our publishing partners,” Higbie emphasized. “Whatever platforms are high priority for them, are high priority for us.”
For publishers, XAPPmedia has made ad-creation as easy as possible, with a cloud-hosted tool that inserts the voice-activation technology into pre-produced audio ads “in minutes.” If an advertiser does not have a produced spot ready to go, XAPPmedia will take the copy and produce a professionally voiced commercial.
In today’s XAPP Ads inauguration, NPR is the launch partner on the publishing side, with a sponsorship message from Lumber Liquidators. (See the audio sample above.)