AskKinjo audio ads gain steam

New automated location-relevant feature gives audio ads more contextual, targeted and interactive pull.

With a growing number of advertisers looking to leverage mobile, news that AskKinjo’s interactive ads saw an 8% response rate in their first month of release may be of interest.

The platform, which launched in November, integrates context-based advertisements with location-based services delivered free to users. It is now expanding by supplementing its speech recognition system with an automated location feature which detects a device’s location, so that mobile phone users no longer have to state their location verbally. AskKinjo services include real-time traffic updates as well as intel on nearby fast-food outlets, coffee shops, parking lots and ATMs. ‘Tomorrow’s Gas Price Today’ is a new feature that provides the next day’s forecast price of gas and diesel every weekday after 5:30 pm.

The free personalized location-based service works on Bell, Solo, Telus, Koodo and Rogers iPhone networks – without GPS or the need for a data plan. However, AskKinjo tells MiC it’s currently creating customized GPS applications that can be downloaded and installed on a mobile phone, with the first such application already available to Apple iPhone users as a free download at the Apple iTunes Store under ‘kinjo.’

Interactive audio ads are tailored to callers’ pre-set info requests, as well as the time of day and geographical location. Once the ad is heard, users listen to the requested coupon content for 10 seconds while their real-time information is being retrieved, and can act on it to take advantage of special promo offers or visit the advertiser’s nearest location.

Over 3,000 users who listened to an ad on #KINJO requested a ‘coupon’ through AskKinjo’s SMS service last month, says AskKinjo chairman Stephane Attal, adding that the coupons may just contain the advertiser’s address, phone and URL, and the acquisition rate has been accelerating, with 1,000 new users in the last week of February alone.

The platform overcomes privacy concerns. (A user’s location is not tracked or shared. AskKinjo is only aware of the user’s location for the duration of the call and users can opt out of the automated location feature.) The voice-activated AskKinjo service automatically audio-delivers the info, and so complies with the Government of Ontario’s plans to ban dialing a mobile phone while driving.

Current advertisers include MADD Canada, KeysToUs, Provence Delices, Toronto resto 5th Elementt and The Cruise People. Free trials are used to accumulate ad performance measurements; this month KINJO is offering free trials to advertisers wanting to offer incentives via its SMS coupons, be it discounts or giveaways.

AskKinjo plans to take the service to market across the country in coming months.

According to a recent survey by US-based audit and tax advisory firm KPMG, the greatest marketing opportunity for mobile is location-based advertising, with 48% of respondents giving it the vote. ‘The majority of investment in mobile applications is expected to come from venture capital,’ says KPMG’s Brian Hughes, ‘and the monetization of those applications is expected to come by way of advertising.’