The first part of a Xappmedia spot can sound like a regular ad, but then it offers a call to action. For example, an ad for a flower company could begin with a promotional spiel, but then ask users whether they want to find out more, or buy flowers, or whatever — not by clicking but by speaking a designated phrase.
You can listen to some sample ads here. (If anything, the ads remind me a bit of those audio menus that can come up when you call customer service help lines — “If you’d like to check your account balance, say: ‘Account balance!'”)
Co-founder and CEO Pat Higbie said that Xappmedia is targeting “ultramobile” listeners. In other words, listeners who are on their phones or using another mobile device and in a position where they can’t actually touch the screens. This approach helps advertisers and publishers since, in situations where banner ads probably won’t work, they can still run interactive ads with clear measures of user engagement. And the ads can be created with a fairly straightforward point-and-click interface, Higbie said.
He argued that this approach is good for the listener, too, because it gives them “choice and convenience” while leading to “less total ad time.”
When Xappmedia launched in March, NPR (its first big partner) said it would be charging CPMs “north of $20.”
The funding was led by co-founder and executive chairman Frank Raines, with participation from undisclosed angel investors.