The Next Phase of Mobile Advertising: Conversing With Your Phone

Imagine this: You’re walking past your favorite store and your phone buzzes to ask you if you like the new spring collection. Or maybe it wants to know what you think about the new running shoes displayed in the storefront just up ahead. Conversations with your phone aren’t just something to imagine anymore; recently companies have developed advertisements for your mobile devices that have the capabilities to converse with you!

The mobile device has become a new and popular platform for companies to advertise their products. The Cisco Visual Networking Index estimates that by the end of the year the number of mobile-connected devices is expected to exceed the world’s population. That’s a lot of talking phones.

So, what are voice ads exactly?

Companies are creating technologies that use not only your mobile device, but its built-in GPS and WiFi capabilities to trigger personalized ads that will carry out a short conversation with you. The ads won’t be asking you anything super personal, like how your mother is doing, but they will ask you targeted questions about certain topics and products. As an example, an ad might ask you if you like a song or genre while you are using the latest Android music streaming app.

While this type of advertisement is effective in capturing attention, skeptics wonder if this type of technology might not just be bothersome but also too invasive of privacy.

At any given point while using an app, GPS and WiFi are used to generate ads relevant to your location. The ads you hear when you’re buying a cup of coffee are really different from ads you may hear when you’re at a sporting event. The point of these ads is to engage you in a conversation that ultimately leads to a message about a product or service.

With companies focusing more on SoLoMo initiatives, the digital world continues to evolve. Standing for Social, Local, Mobile, SoLoMo brings social media, location targeting and mobile devices together to allow marketers to target specific audiences.

During the All Things Digital Mobile 2013 Conference, the CEO of the mapping app Waze and ad executives Jason Spero from Google and Mollie Spilman of Millennial Media discussed how important mobile users’ GPS location can be when creating tailored advertising. Recently Waze teamed up with Taco Bell to use targeted mobile ads within the Waze app to send special offers to people who are in the general vicinity of a Taco Bell.

As the mobile ad business grows, so will the amount of data available about mobile device users. Companies already have the information about places that you go to regularly or for special events from geo-location apps like Foursquare. With these types of ads there will be more context around the data, meaning businesses will now be able to understand the human connection behind the information.

Are mobile voice ads a good idea or just an annoyance? In only a matter of months you will be able to be the judge.

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