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Published On: Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

Mobile audio advertising is the most cost-effective channel of advertising in a multi-lingual, high illiterate society –Advoice Markeing Director

Mobile audio advertising is the new frontier in advertising being latched onto by brands looking at selling to consumers with more precision than the traditional advertising. Here telecom subscribers are served communication messages in place of the call-waiting tone before a caller is connected to the person he is calling or via SMS, USB or video streaming formats. Recently UCHE AKOLISA met Mr. Igor Hendriksen, the Marketing Director of Advoice, the world’s first global agency to serve mobile audio advertising in Lagos, during his recent visit to Nigeria and in this interview which followed , he speaks on what makes mobile audio advertising stand out of the clutter in the marketing communication space. Excerpts:

 

Digitalization has thrown up creative disruptions on how we do a lot of things in the world including marketing communications. One of such disruptions is mobile audio advertising. What is the philosophy behind mobile audio advertising?
First, with mobile audio advertising mobile audio ads are served to mobile consumers. The “beep,” a.k.a. caller tune or ringer tone, that is, the tone that callers normally hear when dialing a number and waiting for their call to connect, is replaced with audio ads.
Why mobile advertising?
Well, whether it’s Nigeria, India, Europe or anywhere else in the world, almost everyone has or at some point will have a mobile phone. They usually stay ‘on’ all the time, day and night. they aren’t all smartphones as yet and still are largely used to simply make phone calls.
Just to show the potentials: globally, there are about 5 billion mobile users who on average receive about four phone calls a day. That gives you a potential advertising inventory of 20 billion ads. The value of global mobile advertising is presently estimated to be over $100 billion.
Why audio since it is a very strong format in itself?
Just think of it: we have already developed our hearing sense at an age of six months , even while still in uterus. It is, therefore, not surprising that respected research shows up to twice the brand message recall and purchase intent figures through audio ads when compared to visual ads.
It just demonstrates that as humans we are hard-wired and extremely receptive to audio. Particularly when looking at the duration that the audio ads actually play during the “beep”– which is over 15 seconds on average before the call gets answered. A mobile audio ad format is a marketer’s dream to “Get heard”.
One of the main drivers behind the mobile audio advertising format is the fact that mobile network operators(MNOs) have a direct channel to reach consumers. This helps to promote the service as well as to gain consumer insights which – in turn – is helping advertisers to reach consumers with relevant brand messages.
Until today, ironically,these very same consumers have mainly been targeted and served with ads from other parties such as Facebookand Google, thereby completely sidelining the MNOs. Neither the consumer nor the MNO has, therefore, been benefiting from what is actually a key position in the mobile advertising value- chain.
With our founders’ mobile Value Added Services background in mind, this has set us on the path of creating a MNO- based advertising ecosystem in which not just our company but both consumers and MNOs benefit from the rapidly growing ad spends triggered by digitalization.
What are the inherent benefits that give mobile audio advertising edge over traditional advertising channels?
In the markets in which we operate, TV and radio do not always have country-wide coverage and often suffer from power outages. However, it is very likely that people have a mobile phone which is how mobile audio advertising actually still have reach in “media dark” areas.
Mobile audio advertising is also extremely effective in countries with multiple languages and high illiteracylevel. It therefore has an edge over print as well.
The mobile audio advertising format does not require mobile internet. It works on any phone, not just smart phones.
It can go where digital cannot go due to the lack of mobile internet coverage or people do not have a smart phone or data subscription. Mobile audio ads do not get suppressed by today’s ad blockers which have a major impact on websites and apps today.
Another major edge that makes mobile audio advertising a hybrid model between digital and traditional advertising is the guaranteed and measureable listenership. You know exactly how many unique persons have received the brand’s message. You know how many ads have been successfully played and for how long– as opposed to radio or TV measurability.
We share daily and end-of-campaign reports detailing exactly how we delivered the campaign against a predefined set of criteria; e.g. the average ad play, the number of impressions or spots played, the average frequency of ad play per caller, the time distribution during the day or even how many people pressed ‘*’ to request more information.
The beauty therefore is that if a brand books a million impressions, it is guaranteed that those impressions get delivered.
Lastly, replacing the “beep” with ads has actually created a very entertaining and surprising ad format as well, compared to any traditional or digital format out there.
Just imagine that while calling someone, you would be getting a relevant promotional offer “in your ear” brought to you by a brand you like through the voice of Davido or Tiwa Savage.
Nigeria has over 100 million mobile phone users. Of what significance is that to brands that may be interested in reaching consumers via mobile audio advertising?
This number in itself underlines the enormous potential reach of mobile audio advertising. Anyone out of these 100 million phone users could potentially be hearing a mobile audio ad.
Given its unique properties, mobile audio advertising outperforms any format available to brands today in terms of reach, effectiveness and measureablity when compared to TV, radio, print or digital.
Again, the average ad playtime is 15 seconds; so, in case of a million booked impressions, it is guaranteed that the Nigerian consumers would hear that ad for 15 million seconds. That equals to over 4,000 hours of ad playtime. This is just to show that mobile audio ad delivery is absolutely measurable, transparent and very cost-effective; This is the attractiveness of the proposition.
Mobile audio advertising is new in Nigeria. So is your company, AdVoice. Exactly how old are you in the Nigeria market?
AdVoice, a venture of ChannelVAS, the premium Fintech provider of mobile financial and value-added services for mobile operators, was launched in Nigeria in November last year. Nigeria was our first launch globally with Airtel, soon followed by Airtel in India in December. More are expected to come this year in other parts of the world.
Why Airtel? Airtel is not the biggest network in Nigeria?
That is a fair question. We are certainly in talks with other operators in Nigeria. The reality is that there are many factors that determine speed of implementation and the date of being able to go to market. This is different for each operator or group of operators such as Etisalat or MTN, for example.
What are the major breaks you have achieved so far?
We offer a reach of 25 million unique callers per month, which translates to 90 million ad impressions per month. This equals 1.3 billion seconds of mobile audio advertising per month directly into the “eardrums” of consumers.
This number is growing rapidly as we speak with thousands of new customers joining every day. Not surprisingly, a subscriber gets rewarded with free air/talktime for every succesful ad that was played to its callers.
With multiple implementations of this service worldwide, AdVoice has become a mobile audio ad network with the largest consumer reach in this format through our tie-ups with MNOs.
We have helped many brands achieve their campaign objectives such as increasing viewership in game shows, generating attendance at events, pre order for newly introduced phone models, booking of test drives with major car brands.
What are the clients you have worked for?
We have worked for brands across industries such as FMCG (Pepsi), breweries (Star, Goldberg), banking (Zenith, Access and United Capital), insurance (FBN Insurance), cinemas, mobile phones (Nokia, Huawei), events, cable TV (Big Brother and Startimes Easter promo), just to mention a few.
Similarly in India we have executed campaigns across all verticals like FMCG (Emami, Cadbury), consumer durables (Gonexa, HP, Canon, Hitachi, Whirlpool),
e-commerce (OLX, UrbanClap, Droom, Cashify), automotive (TVS, Nissan, Apollo, Datsun), home and garden (Nerolac), education (Sharda University), travel (Sterling Holidays, Air Asia).
What opportunities can AdVoice offer brand owners that weren’t there before?
Just to name a few of the unique points of the mobile audio advertising proposition: Mobile audio ads ‘break the clutter’ in an innovative way that makes brands stand out. It gets you the undivided attention of a consumer in a one-on-one fashion with 15 seconds of ad playtime.
Mobile audio ads are getting brands the ‘consumer eardrums’ without wasting your advertising budget;No charging for ad under 5 seconds,reaching consumers anytime a day and in a transparent and measurable way.
Mobile audio ads are providing brands ‘unprecedented guaranteed reach’ in Nigeria with an inventory of more than 90 million ad impressions per month, reaching even “Media Dark” areas.
Mobile audio ads are ‘suitable for anyone’, regardless of language, type of phone or location.
Comparatively, what is the cost of doing mobile audio advertising in Nigeria?
In all the cases that we have seen across all verticals and up against all formats, we have been able to pitch and prove that the effective costs for mobile audio advertising are on par or even more competitive than radio, digital and other formats.
In a Recession like the one Nigeria is going through, brands are increasingly being forced to commoditization as high inflation and stagnant income weigh on consumer’s purchasing power such that price becomes a key factor that influences buying decision. As a marketer, what would you counsel brands to do to keep their heads above water?
Amongst many other targets, marketers need to ultimately deliver return on investment(ROI.) They need to generate leads and increase brand awareness. That requires constant innovation as to the way they talk to their consumers in order to get their attention.
Falling into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing by using commoditized ways of reaching their target audiences results in the opposite, that is, not being recognized or generating value.
I would always advocate that they step a little bit out of the comfort zone. Albeit mobile audio ads are not that far out with its hybrid nature of – essentially being a one-on-one radio spot with the digital advertising capabilities and measureablity (unlike Radio and TV).
Such characteristics are very familiar to any marketer. The difference is, mobile audio ads do not waste your advertising budgets and simply make you ‘get heard.’

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