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‘A Million Ads’ hints at the potential of ‘Voice First’

An ex-colleague of mine recently posted an image on LinkedIN that I became enthralled in for a good few minutes… so I thought I’d share it here.

It wasn’t your usual LinkedIN fodder of a motivational quote pasted on top of a picture of a mountain. It was an image that made me realise just how advanced audio marketing has become… and how far it can go from here.

The colleague in question now works for “A Million Ads” an agency building dynamic audio adverts that respond to personalised listener data such as location, weather and even name. It’s clever stuff and undoubtedly, the future of advertising.

The image in question was an ‘analytics visualisation’ showing the potential listener journey on one of ‘A Million Ads’ dynamic advertisements. Each branch representing an option that responds to pre-determined conditions:

Analytics Visualisation of A Million Ads Dynamic Advertisement

The first branch division depends on location and adapts the message to include the listener’s local airport. The second is dependant on weather. The third rotates the relevant client messages to ensure variation on listens. On and on the options branch ultimately presenting one of (apparently, I’ve not done the maths) over twelve thousand bespoke advertisements.

We know that listeners like to hear messages that connect directly to them as individuals; It’s part of the reason that radio stations carry local news and traffic bulletins and why radio presenters insist on telling us that “Dave” is calling in from a particular small town within their broadcast area. It cuts through.

There is also research (all be it a small amount right now) to suggest that advertisements that feature personalised elements within its content produces higher recall and engagement from its audience. So, it’s probably not a massive leap to assume from there that the more personalised a marketing message can be: then the higher the sales conversion rate will be.

It’s impressive stuff and it’s excited and terrifies me when I try and project that level of bespoke message onto the potential of Voice Activated technology.

Here we have a dizzying number of different audio products created as a result of the data from (just) 11 different questions. Each of those questions has a finite number of potential answers. The ‘local airport’ branch, for example, has 6 options. It offers an incredibly personalised product but is still limited by pre-programmed options. With Voice, there is the potential to expand this into an open-ended experience.

Currently, many Voice Apps (Amazon Skills, Google Actions etc…) have very limited user journeys. In a similar way (and more so) to the dynamic advertisement above, a user is guided through options; some of which may be pre-determined on the basis of known data whilst some of which may be presented as a choice. The potential, however, is for each branch to present unlimited options.

The technology is not at a level where this is achievable yet but the possibility is there. ‘Voice’ will enable users/listeners not only to answer direct questions and select pre-determined options but to manage the journey themselves by requesting information and asking direct questions back to the advertisement… just like a real conversation!

The current range of Skills and Voice Apps on the market are, as it stands, way off this level of engagement. But, improvements are being made all the time to the natural language processing and Artificial Intelligence needed to create these “conversational” experiences. If we are to believe in the assumption I made early, that a more bespoke message can lead to higher sales conversion rates, then companies like ‘A Million Ads’ are offering a tantalising glimpse of what Voice First can offer as a marketing channel.

A million ads… but a billion possibilities!

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