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Digital audio advertising is where video advertising was five-six years ago: Dennis Oudejans, CEO, AdVoice

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Digital audio advertising is where video advertising was five-six years ago: Dennis Oudejans, CEO, AdVoice

Providing brands innovative ways to target audiences real-time, global telco ad-network, AdVoice has been leveraging the untapped mobile channels smartly. Having developed strong relationships with MNOs and media agencies globally, the network seems to be charting inroads to achieve success. We spoke with Dennis Oudejans, CEO, AdVoice, who opened up on the ad network's journey so far, targeted markets and his vision for the company. Edited excerpts:

How has the journey of AdVoice been so far? Tell us about the developments slated for the year in terms of business and technology?

AdVoice was launched in India in December 2016 and has since then grown into the largest mobile audio advertising network in India, with a reach of 70 million unique consumers monthly. We have partnered with the premier telco Airtel, and expect to announce further tie-ups with Indian mobile operators shortly, which will take the addressable audience to numbers that resemble that of Facebook and Youtube, albeit with different demographics and different ad experiences. Taking a new ad format such as AdRBT to market always requires time for advertisers and agencies to embrace and all the more so at times when demonetisation and GST, both of which create excellent long-term business climates, are introduced. We now have presence in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and are witnessing a strong uptake from leading local and international brands.

What is the brand's differentiating aspect from other mobile audio ad networks?

AdVoice is the only mobile audio ad network in the country. As we deliver ad jingles over both smartphones and feature phones, we have an unmatched reach in rural areas, whilst guaranteeing 15 seconds of listenership in the media cluttered metros and Tier 1 cities. In comparison with radio, the most popular audio advertising format, AdVoice has the benefits of targeting and measurability. An ad delivered by AdVoice is an ad heard and with zero wastage our effective cost per unique listener is a fraction of that of radio.

What are the market factors that have led to this service being created?

As per the estimates, 6 billion people make 25 billion mobile calls daily, generating an AdRBT inventory that is unrivalled and untapped. AdVoice endeavours to address the vacuum created by low share of mobile audio advertising, despite nearly 100% mobile phone penetration. In practice, the brand leverages mobile phone penetration and the simplicity of mobile audio advertising via AdRBT.

Tell us about the types of brands who are looking to advertise through the platform?

AdRBT is suited for advertisers who want to communicate on a large scale. This media is effective for brand building, promotions and retargetting via story boarding, AdVoice has call-to-action capabilities too, upon which offers are sent via SMS and OBD.

Innovative marketers from FMCG, Automotive, e-Commerce, and BFSI amongst others, as well as Government and NGOs have taken AdVoice on board their media plans. Interestingly we see a strong interest from local Indian brands. Knowing the communication challenges only too well, we enjoy support from them for an ad format that made its global debut here.

Can you tell us about your target markets?

AdVoice is backed by investors and entrepreneurs who have a long and successful history in Telecommunications and Fintech sectors in emerging markets, with ChannelVAS, its parent company, recently attracting a 3,400 Crore investment. AdVoice is currently present in India and Nigeria, countries with some of the highest populations in Asia and Africa respectively.
We expect to expand into other sizeable ad markets in these continents, as well as in Middle East and Latin America. If the plans are properly executed, we will grow into a Mobile Audio Ad Network that potentially reaches more than 25% of the earth’s population by the end of 2018. This would offer large multinationals the kind of scale to run pan-regional campaigns, whilst providing inclusion of telcos into the mobile advertising ecosystem.

What are your future plans?

We intend to scale up such that we enable advertisers to reach any target group in any corner of India. We want to gain their trust by being measurable and transparent. AdVoice aims to be a supportive partner that contributes to campaign objectives in a manner that we become a line-item in the majority of media plans again and again. On a ‘grander’ scale, it’s interesting to philosophise about the possibilities of audio advertising over futuristic channels such as streaming music services, digital assistants like Alexa, Connected Cars, and the Internet of Things, all of which will be voice response driven. I believe that digital audio advertising is where video advertising was some five-six years ago and it’s definitely a space where AdVoice intends to operate.

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