Streaming music is becoming big business, with the growing popularity of websites and applications like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio. And with that growth comes an opportunity for increased monetization, through targeted audio ads delivered to listeners of those applications. Enter Mixberry Media, which is introducing a new ad platform aimed at inserting ads into the dead space in audio streams whenever a user switches channels or changes songs.
Today, most streaming music apps are monetized through banner ads, with some limited audio interruptions interspersed between songs. But many listeners never see those banners, as they normally tune in with the Pandora in a hidden tab or with the Spotify app minimized. Those ads that are inserted during a music stream typically have a click-through component or call to action that few listeners ever take advantage of.
By contrast, Mixberry hopes to take advantage of the dead space that crops up between songs whenever a user skips a song or switches channels. As the music application buffers the next audio track, Mixberry can fill the silence with short audio messages through a quick call to its ad server.
This not only gives creates a monetization opportunity that streaming providers weren’t previously taking advantage of, but it provides the ability to serve up more targeted messages. Ads can be targeted based on 32 different parameters, including location, time of day and date.
For advertisers, Mixberry provides easy-to-use ad creation and distribution tools, enabling them to quickly roll out new ads without pre-made assets. They can choose to create text-to-speech ads, which can be customized with different voices, personalities, accents, languages, background music and other features. Or they can directly upload an audio file up to 15 seconds in length.
Ads are typically short — ranging anywhere from up to 5 seconds to 15 seconds. That’s typically just long enough for listeners to get a brand message across, but not so long as to disrupt the listening experience or annoy users waiting for the next song, Mixberry Media founder and CEO Andre Hawit told us in a phone interview.
Mixberry is working to get embedded with 19 of the top 20 audio applications, Hawitt said. The startup, which is self-financed, has more than 30 employees and is located in Silicon Valley. Its workforce is mainly engineers today, but it’s looking to hire more sales and marketing folks over the next few months.