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Why publishers need to seek conversations rather than clicks: Q&A with Cavai

Cavai describes itself as a ‘global conversational advertising cloud’, working closely with publishers, brands and agencies to enable conversational experiences using ad cloud technology. The company recently announced that it is partnering with Telegraph Media Group (TMG) to launch Telegraph Engage. WNIP caught up with Ed Preedy, Chief Revenue Officer at Cavai, to find out more…

Can you give us some background about your company?

Cavai was founded in 2018 by Steffen Svartberg and Tommy Torjesen, and we have offices across Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, London and Singapore.  We help marketers deliver conversations in programmatic buys in the same way as they would normally deliver banners and video ads. Across Europe, our clients are already experiencing ROI increased, ten or twenty times over, through conversational advertising campaigns.

What business problem is your company addressing?

Cookies are on the way out, segments can be inaccurate, and brand safety is an increasing concern, too, with many brands and audiences tired of interruptive – and often ineffective – advertising.

Here’s where conversational advertising comes in: Advertisers are still able to use audience targeting for conversational advertising campaigns but can also start to move away from a reliance on this. When you talk to someone for the first time you don’t know their interests; you learn them. Through dialogue with your audience, a brand can discover who this person is and what they want, without splitting them into predefined or assumptive segments. Then you converse with them on the topics they care about at that given moment and how they relate to the advertisers product or service, raising awareness, qualifying user interest and having a real and tangible effect on bottom line sales. 

Generally, the advantage of conversational advertising isn’t the click rate. The real value proposition is the quality of the user engagement, the sharing of information that increases likelihood of conversions and generates unique audience insight.

Currently, advertisers have concerns around fraud and accidental clicks. Conversations differ drastically. Fraud is negligible because bots are trained to click a banner once and then move on. They’re not able to navigate a conversation with multiple interaction points. When a user does click through, it’s after an engagement that points to an interest. 

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

Last month we announced a partnership with Telegraph Media Group (TMG) to launch Telegraph Engage. This partnership will allow advertisers to engage users in a pre-defined dialogue within TMG’s full range of display ad units, including its cinematic Skylight format.

By engaging users in a two-way interaction, the user dwell times in display ad units increase and advertisers are able to qualify the users interest in their product or service; before linking them to the most relevant part of the advertiser website, giving a significant boost to conversion rates.

Pricing?

Conversational lends itself to wide range of pricing models but given the programmatic landscape we work in, CPM is currently predominant. 

What are other people doing in the space and why?

Conversational Advertising is a burgeoning channel. Some companies are more broadly chatbot solutions that we feel are more technical in nature and not purpose-built for advertising like Cavai. 

How do you view the future?

Particularly at a time of crisis, it is important to move away from static brand monologues and to show your customers you are listening. By deploying conversational advertising, you can do this.

During the pandemic, some brands have managed to be helpful, answering questions and concerns and imparting useful information, thanks to conversational mechanics. For some, this helped to avoid customers waiting for hours on the phone at a time when there are lots of questions that need answering about how to access products and services. 

The technology is developing rapidly, encompassing conversations across display and social ecosystems, with dialogue and video, to create a full-service, conversational ‘cloud’.And, with adoption rates of smart speakers still rocketing, making people comfortable with brand interactions that were previously thought impossible, vocal recognition technology even allows for insights into what a person is feeling.

Anything else we might have missed?

Conversational design is crucial. If an audience doesn’t realise you want to talk then they’re not going to interact with you. What’s more, conversational advertising is a pretty new idea to most people so it’s important to make sure the invitation to converse is made clear.

Don’t make your ad unit boring. Ensure the conversation has enough back and forth interaction. Let audiences respond and don’t make it a one-sided deluge of information. This will ensure user interest remains high and gives you the chance to gain key insights.

Thank you.

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