Washington-based advertising startup XappMedia, a pioneer in the emerging field of interactive audio advertising, is about to make listening to the radio a lot more interesting. Well, at least for people with media jobs in online advertising agencies, anyway.
Having recently launched its latest audio advertising platform Xapp Ads, which it describes as “hands free, eyes free, voice activated ads that provide a new solution for monetizing the growing Internet radio and mobile audio audiences”, it’s also just announced a that it’s raised a tidy $3 million in seed funding.
The power of voice
XappMedia ads are designed to be audially, as opposed to visually, engaging – something that many art directors and account managers may have forgotten about with the rise of the Visual Web. They begin rather conventionally, these ads. But don’t switch your attention off: the introductory promotional spiel will be deftly followed by a call to action, not by swiping or clicking, but by speaking. Listeners simply say a designated phrase out loud, whereupon they get a promotional offer or purchase a product.
National Public Radio was XappMedia’s first paid client after its official launch in March this year. And National Public Radio, shrewd account managers will appreciate, has got reach. It charges just a little over $20 for CPMs.
Speaking about the Xapp Ads platform, the startup’s CEO, Pat Higbie, said:
“We’re about giving consumers a voice and connecting them with advertisers and publishers. We’re calling it an “ultra mobile device.” You can use it when you’re walking, driving, or the phone is in your pocket or on your dashboard.”
Now here’s what ultra mobile interactive audio advertising means. Essentially, these ads are for people who may be using their smartphones but aren’t in a position at that moment to touch their screens, as Higbie describes. That’s the kind of situation where a banner ad is about as useful as a chocolate coffee pot. But with XappMedia, advertisers and agencies can still run interactive ads and engage effectively, too.
The startup’s recent seed funding was led by its executive chairman and founder, Frank Raines, and unnamed angel investors.