ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — Adotas sat down with with J. Scott Hamilton, the CEO of VoodooVox to discuss the company’s in-call media advertising program, which involves the targeted insertion of ad-supported audio content into the call stream of any type of phone traffic. VoodooVox aims to make telephony free with its In-Call Media Exchange — here’s how.
ADOTAS: Can you give us a brief history of VoodooVox?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: I started VoodooVox in 2001 with the idea that I wanted to get into Voice 2.0. At the time, advertisers hadn’t tapped into the massive billion-call telephony market yet. I built a team from leading telephony, agency, radio, and engineering experts with the goal of enabling the creation and delivery of interactive audio media into the telephony market.
We wanted to build a network with the mechanism for call publishers to bring their telephony applications to the network and instantly access a robust advertising market. We thus created our In-Call Media Exchange™(ICMx), where advertisers can enjoy direct access to hundreds of millions of calls from a diverse network of call publishers.
ADOTAS: What is In-Call Media?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: In-Call Media uses a real time audio ad server to dynamically insert and test different messages across multiple providers. VoodooVox’s solution dynamically inserts a brand’s message alongside the provider’s existing audio prompts based on the caller’s demographics, location and more. And since the audio prompts are interactive, campaigns can be designed to support direct response, lead generation, mobile marketing, branded entertainment and more.
ADOTAS: Who are some of your advertisers?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: We have advertisers that are large and small, and they range from financial services to consumer goods. A few of the bigger companies are Bank of America, Johnson and Johnson, Wells Fargo, Disney, ABC, and Burger King.
ADOTAS: What percentages of their ad campaigns are being spent on In-Call Media?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: It’s hard to say, but like other new media marketers, we are seeing budgets coming from traditional buckets such as direct marketing, print, and other traditional media which frankly doesn’t provide the efficiencies and accountability of online and In-Call Media advertising.
ADOTAS: Have you had repeat customers?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: Yes, most customers have already run additional campaigns or are planning to do so. As In-Call Media emerges as an increasingly valuable media buy, this group continues to grow. We have customers returning from both brands and agencies.
ADOTAS: How does In-Call Media compare to other forms of advertising?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: In-Call Media is one of the most effective direct marketing channels available. There is nothing out there that can hit specifically targeted consumer groups and virtually guarantees that the consumer will be exposed to the ad like In-Call Media can. It’s like a DoubleClick for phone calls.
In-Call Media is more targeted than traditional print or TV, which means that advertisers can efficiently reach consumers, and at the right time, refine outcomes by turning up or down a campaign based on its success. The conversion rates for In-Call Media rank at 10X that of online web banners, with click-through rates ranging from 1.2% all the way up to 20% in some campaigns. In-Call Media gets the attention of the consumer in a deeper way through the audio medium and therefore leads to better results than other forms of ads where consumers can ignore them.
ADOTAS: How does VoodooVox avoid alienating consumers who are already annoyed because they’ve been put on hold?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: It has to work for the caller. We start with that fundamental premise, always. In less than eight seconds, we ask permission to market to the caller, to let them hear more. They have a choice. We also serve content that is valuable to the consumer—a Wall Street news brief sponsored by Staples or a favorite sports team’s scores, or news & entertainment. Callers can use their mobile phones to opt-in to receive coupons, awards, and text-message content. Caller responses strongly suggest that they value the In-Call Media campaign offering.
Services like FreeConferenceCall.com or with enhanced features such as sports, news and weather information. Either way we are trying to provide fair value exchange and helpful or valuable news while consumers are waiting … which beats Muzak in my book.
ADOTAS: Can you give me an example of an ad I would interact with?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: Yes, so say you call in on a conference call service like FreeConference.com. Right after you enter your conference ID, and that code is being authenticated, a short ad for CNN’s Anderson Cooper show tonight may run within the five-second span. And, while on hold for other attendees to join the call, you could hear the latest business news and updates, brought to you by, say, Staples.
ADOTAS: What’s next for VoodooVox?
J. SCOTT HAMILTON: We have several major brand and media publishers that are going to launch this Fall. So stay tuned Adotas readers!