Partnership between RMS and A Million Ads announced

Hamburg, 25th April 2017

RMS partners with A Million Ads to deliver personalised audio advertising. The audio sales house RMS and UK start-up A Million Ads are bringing Dynamic Creative to the German audio market.

 
 

RMS, the leading German audio sales house, and A Million Ads, a global leader in data­-driven audio marketing, announced their cooperation on the German market today. A Million Ads specialises in the delivery of dynamic content and personalised adverts for online audio. It is the UK company's first partnership in Germany. This shows the continuing growth of Programmatic Audio. 


Thanks to the partnership, RMS now has access to the technology and creative approach developed by A Million Ads for the marketing of its online audio portfolio and can link them with its own adserver. Based on the known user information, advertisers can mix dynamically generated elements within a campaign, and thereby create personalised audio spots with a vast amount of possible combinations. The data which A Million Ads can access from the outset includes the location, time, weather and user device as well as the sequence of hearing the ad. In the next stage, first party data will become available, e.g. from login or usage. 


Frank Bacher, Head of Digital Media at RMS: "We are delighted to have gained A Million Ads, an experienced expert in personalised, data-powered online audio advertising, as a partner. This will give advertisers the chance, for the first time, to adjust and place advertising spots in real time for individual target groups. Thanks to this precise transmission, we can gain maximum attention in relevant situations. That is a real ground-breaking innovation for the audio advertising market. Dynamic Creatives emphasises the high quality of the online audio format. Together with A Million Ads and the campaigns of the first selected advertising partners, we will drive forward new developments in the German audio market."


Steve Dunlop, Founder and CEO at A Million Ads: "RMS are the obvious partner for us in the German market. Their scale and capability offers advertisers the chance to reach millions of consumers. Now, with A Million Ads, those moments can be personalised to each individual listener, capturing more attention and driving ROI for advertisers."


At the moment, the preparations for the first test campaigns are ongoing in cooperation with a large agency network. 

About A Million Ads
A Million Ads delivers personalised audio creative on-the-fly and at scale. driving higher brand engagement and greater media effectiveness. We make this possible by combining cutting-edge technology with innovation in the creative process to deliver relevant and personalised digital audio ads in real time. 
Contact: press(at)amillionads.com


About RMS
As the leading audio sales house in the German audio marketing market, RMS helps its clients to get closer to their target groups and their purchasing decisions, both in terms of location, time and topic. To do this, RMS offers services from the whole audio spectrum; advert times and formats as well as online offers from 165 private radio stations nationwide. On top of that, they are also leading the market in web radio and mobile apps. The marketing offer is supplemented by further services for market research, media planning and creation. In 2016, the revenue of the RMS partner stations was 1,270 billion Euros, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Chairman of the Board is Florian Ruckert. RMS has offices in all large German agency cities. The company's headquarters are in Hamburg Together with RMS Austria, RMS is the biggest audio sales house in Europe.

Contact: Kirsten Schade, Company Communication Press spokesperson, RMS Radio Marketing Service GmbH & Co KG
T. +49 (0) 40. 23890-153 M. 0175 8346079 E. schade@rms.de

SXSW: Highlights From The Influential Austin Experience 

Steve and I are off to Austin, Texas, USA for South by South West's annual Film, Music and Interactivity festival that should be in every media influencer's diary. We’re newbies to the whole SXSW experience but along with the Cannes Lions it is a key opportunity to showcase A Million Ads to the media industry and I’m speaking as part of the Brands and Marketing track of the Interactive festival. As we have some coffee fuelled travel time, here are a few thoughts on what makes SXSW such an influential event.

I bought an early generation iPod in 2002, or rather Capital Radio Plc my employer at the time did. Before then I had put sonic presentations together on tape, DAT, CD and/or minidisc. We had thousands of audio clips, radio ads and soundtracks from TV ads in an archive grandly called 'The Sonic Laboratory'. The iPod, cleverly pitched as ‘a thousand songs in your pocket’, offered a perfect solution to the fact that in those days we played individual clips from a playlist which had different orders for different clients. So now there was no need to re-record, burn or reorder on these different formats. The iPod, or rather the iPod + iTunes, was every sonic presentation I could ever want to give in my pocket. The problem was, after about a year of use the battery died, and it couldn't be replaced for less than the cost of a NEW iPod! That’s pretty annoying even if you didn’t stump up the substantial cost in the first place. This issue really irked the filmmaker Casey Neistat. In fact, it annoyed him so much that he decided to make a public service film called iPod’s Dirty Secret about his direct action on iPod’s iconic poster campaign. It became the first viral online video I can remember. It might not seem significant now but this was 2003, YouTube didn’t launch until 2005, to watch the short film you needed to patiently download it! I kept a close eye on Casey’s career ever since and he went from having his own HBO show with his brother, to producing commercials, to becoming one of the biggest YouTube stars out there, to launching a Tech Media company which he recently sold to CNN. Casey is discussing his fascinating journey at SXSW 2017, and this is his most recent film about what it means to be a creator.

 
 

Casey has claimed that is was his young son that introduced him to YouTube because he wasn’t that impressed his dad had an HBO series as he and his friends didn’t watch TV. It’s hardly ground breaking to highlight the impact the internet has had on video content but it feels online audio content is now being talked about in a similar way in it’s evolution. Video and audio are very different and consumed in different ways but people’s attraction to on demand, personalised content will only continue to accelerate.

My presentation content has evolved over the years, some of the core examples have survived from the playlists of that first iPod while others have been added, developed or are the result of research. Around the time that iPod battery was dying, I was involved in commissioning research into Musical Fit and the Recall of Radio Ads with Professor Adrian North who at the time was at Leicester University’s, Centre for Psychology. We had been draw to his fascinating work into music and consumer behaviour, through his study into the effect music has on wine purchasing preference (a study we mention in the animation on our home page). To understand how marketing and advertising works, it’s logical to look at how human communication works and the work of psychologists around the world. Advertising is about influence so it was no wonder the work of Dr Robert Cialdini would come up, because he quite literally wrote the book on the Psychology of Influence. I've found his theory on the 6 weapons of influence a great way to showcase influential sonic creative and was fortunate to get a pre-release copy of his recent new book, Pre-suasion, from his publishers. Robert is discussing this new book with Guy Kawasaki at SXSW and he also quotes Adrian’s wine study in the opening chapter.

 
 

Although we applied to speak at SXSW well before we had agreed to work with Pandora, it’s now a happy coincidence we can be here with them as they are one of the festival's major sponsors. With them sitting perfectly between two of the three main strands, interactive and music, they have a big presence all over Austin. If you happen to be at SXSW our session is called Subconsciously Seduced by Sound, 11.00 – 12.00, Salon E, JW Marriott. Where we will be presenting our theory on how and why our subconscious has such an impact on the information we’re influenced by and how brands can use dynamic creative and personalisation to take advantage.

 

SXSW: Subconsciously Seduced by Sound

Sam Crowther

MAR 15, 2017 | 11:00AM – 12:00PM, JW Marriott, Salon E

The digital age is responsible for a dramatic decline in the human attention span. However brand advertising has a powerful secret weapon, sound. Or more specifically, communicating to people’s subconscious with sound. From utilising the passive nature of hearing to psychologically condition people to using selective attention to make people actively listen, relevant sounds have an extraordinary effect on influencing emotional memory, behaviour and brand selection. Join this experiential session to learn how this legacy of our evolution is being used in dynamic creative and personalisation for digital audio, helping brands communicate the way humans do instinctively.

Pandora Partners with A Million Ads to Become First Publisher to Deliver Dynamic Creative Audio Advertising

23 February 2017

Imagine a world where the advertisements you hear speak to you like a trusted friend. They get you. Your likes. Your perspective. And understand how to add value to your everyday life.

We’ve worked hard to make this level of personalisation a reality for your music listening experience on Pandora. We already know how important it is to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right moment–so we are beyond thrilled to announce that we are entering an exclusive partnership with UK-based company, A Million Ads, to enable our advertising partners to do this at even greater scale and efficiency.  

Together Pandora and A Million Ads are working to establish a new standard for data-driven creative in audio advertising. Not only will this partnership allow brands to further personalise their creative on Pandora, but they will also be able to look at performance across many more variants.

By applying dynamic creative technology to the world of audio, select Pandora advertisers will soon be able to test these enhanced features (that we plan to make widely available later this year):

  • Dynamic Creative at Scale: Serve real-time, tailored audio ads to Pandora listeners through a single tag. In addition to gender, age and zip, these ads also take into account variables like location, time of day and weather–letting advertisers create up to thousands of versions of an ad easily and efficiently. Combined with Pandora’s registration data, this puts the true power of personalisation to work for your brand message.
  • Sequential Messaging: Tell a complete brand story with sequentially targeted audio ads. We’ve already seen how campaigns that prioritise storytelling over asking the consumer to make a purchase achieve more effective results.1 Now, we take that to the next level through an unstoppable combination of audio storytelling and sophisticated targeting technology.

Dynamic Creative Expected to Lead to More Effective Brand Messaging

Can you imagine the possibilities of serving hyper-personalised, real-time audio ads to an audience who is already engaged and immersed in a personalised music listening experience? The end result is a brand message that actually connects with the listeners. Instead of serving the same coffee shop ad across regions and demographics, Pandora advertisers can easily tailor their creative to achieve more relevance to the listener. For example, listeners in Oakland, CA might hear something like this:

We’re also excited to be enabling musical personalisation, where advertisers can leverage a variety of different music beds and sounds to match a listener’s current listening experience.

Key Performance Indicators Expected to Get a Boost

We’ve seen time and again that contextually relevant ads generate more resonance with their intended audience, leading to better performance in terms of engagement and recall. Through this partnership, we also expect to see key performance indicators get a boost, including the hard-to-move metrics of Brand Favorability and Purchase Intent.

“We share Pandora’s vision and value for personalisation within the unique and intimate audio environment,” said Steve Dunlop, founder and CEO of A Million Ads, “and I’m delighted to partner with Pandora to bring this to market at scale. Dynamic creative represents a significant step in innovation for digital audio advertising and we look forward to building on this partnership as we grow.”

Pandora advertisers can expect dynamic creative functionality to be widely available later this year. To learn more about our partnership with A Million Ads,

Sources:

1. The Science of Social Advertising, “A Research Study on Sequenced for Call to Action vs. Sustained Call to Action,” May 2014

Dreams and Strange Sonic Fruits

Dreams and Strange Sonic Fruits
“If facts don’t work, sing to them”
— Advertising Adage

In the post 1985, The Year I Started Listening we explored the two core aspects of sonic communication. The passive process of hearing and the active process of listening. In the post Why It’s Good To Talk, Trust, Think And Feel we explored the role of spoken language in sonic communication and particularly why - It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it - is considered a universal truth. I began that with the inspiration of Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech which has influenced people ever since and was studied by Barack Obama before the creation of his Yes we can anthem. Why do certain speeches and phrases resonate so much? Simplistically it’s the emotion behind the words, but linguistically it’s how that emotion manifests itself through the way we change volume, pitch, intonation and rhythm. The more emotional we say something, the more musical it sounds. It is this link between voice and music we’re going to explore, voice is music and music is voice.

From 1982 until 1987 every Monday to Friday school term evening I sang evensong in Tewkesbury Abbey. We would also rehearse for an hour in the morning. Music played a big part in my life and education. There are three musical elements to an evensong, the Psalms, the Magnificat / Nunc Dimittis, and the Anthem. The Psalms were tedious, they were chants sung back and forth between Decani and Cantoris, the two sides of the choir. They were often long, boring and hypnotic to sing as a young boy, but relaxing to listen to now. The Magnificat / Nunc Dimittis are canticles and were more interesting to sing, basically they were the same lyrics each night but to different melodies. The part we always enjoyed singing was the Anthem, these would sometimes include such classics as Zadok the Priest... No... Think Champions League, and would also mark the end of the service, Hallelujah! That’s how we felt as young choristers and I suspect the release of endorphins was the intention for congregations over the many centuries.

 
While technology creates opportunities, it’s creativity that creates value
— Sir John Hegarty
 

Sound is difficult to ignore, it’s immersive, affects us regardless of where attention is focused and is able to manipulate a group of peoples’ collective emotions. The church, being perhaps the oldest organised communication experts out there, understood life was hard beyond their gilded walls, so designed services to stimulate the senses to generate emotional elation, from the mundane to joy, from the drudgery of daily life to beauty and splendour, from chants to champions league, from godlessness to godliness.

We instinctively and subconsciously add musical elements to our voices because we’ve implicitly learnt the tiny changes in volume, pitch, intonation and rhythm that enable us to understand the emotional state of the person in front of us, and convey our emotional state to them. However, I hadn’t heard a demonstration of quite how musical we sound when we speak, until I heard ‘sometimes behave so strangely’, the Speech to Song Illusion from the perceptual and cognitive psychologist, Diana Deutsch. I first came across it in this excellent Radio Lab Podcast.

The importance of sound in communicating emotions is perhaps why music and storytelling are so fundamental to human culture. Speech and song are so intrinsically linked because what is story telling if it isn’t adding emotional context to a set of actions and outcomes, more emotion, more musical it sounds. The greatest storytellers from Shakespeare to the Beatles have focused on the pillars of human emotion - love, power, fate, revenge, society, dreams. Legendary adman, Sir John Hegarty was recently quoted as stating, ‘While technology creates opportunities, it’s creativity that creates value’, and creativity in advertising is all about emotional storytelling. Interestingly this idea has been elegantly demonstrated in Google’s Oscar nominated virtual reality short film ‘Pearl’, a story that uses music as it’s central theme.

 
 

So when you have something to say, think about the way you say it, think about the emotion you want to convey and the way it comes across musically and if that fails to make an impression, sing. Some phrases just stick and you can’t read them without hearing the specifics of volume, pitch, intonation and rhythm in the way they they were originally delivered, from ‘I have a dream’ to ‘you talking to me?’ or ‘show me the money!’ or even, ‘I’m luv’in It’. The American Film Institute’s 100 years, one hundred movies quotes has ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ from Gone with the Wind in the number one spot, a film with a link to perhaps the greatest example of music storytelling of all time and significantly predates Dr King’s speech. I’ll let a far more accomplished writer than me explain the story of Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, I recommend you listen to the song while you read. A brilliant example of cognitive dissonance through music’s ability to subconsciously seduce while simultaneously, consciously shock and persuade.

 
 

Why It’s Good To Talk, Trust, Think And Feel

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During the first week of my first proper job at Capital Radio in 1997, something happened that caused a shiver down my spine, a feeling I can vividly remember to this day. I was played some audio I’d already heard countless times before, a clip of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. What had changed was the context, the induction group I was part of was asked to read the phrase just before listening to it and asked what the difference was. It was so obvious, hearing the audio contains all the emotion. Something that we instinctively knew but had never consciously considered before then. A very simple but hugely effective way of demonstrating the power of sound and thus the power of radio. I mentioned this process in my first post, it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it, a universal truth, but why?

To answer that we first have to ask why do we say anything, as a species why do we talk?

A clue to that might be heard on the scrublands of southern and East Africa. Vervet monkeys have three main predators, leopards, eagles and pythons. As a consequence they have evolved different, distinctive alarm calls for each that elicit different responses within a group. 

 
 

On hearing the leopard call the vervet monkeys run up the closest, highest tree, on the eagle alarm call they look up and run for low cover and on the snake call they stand up high and look down into the grass. Research has shown that the same responses occur when just audio recordings of the calls are played back, discounting the possibility the calls are general warnings and the presence of the predator is eliciting the response. Vervet monkeys are clearly communicating with sounds that have distinctive meaning, the starting point for words and language.

 
It’s hardly surprising that the ultimate threat of death could be the source of a profound, evolutionary leap like this...
 

It’s hardly surprising that the ultimate threat of death could be the source of a profound, evolutionary leap like this. However, the evolution of language itself has been considered the ‘hardest problem in science’ to solve, there isn’t a consensus as to why and how it happened. We believe it evolved rapidly in only the last 100,000 years and potentially had profound implications on the development of communal living, memory, the role of emotions in behaviour and the development of intelligence.

Our most primal instinct is for survival, through personal threat/response - fight or flight - and ensuring the continuation of our genes through procreation, which are also the sources of our deepest emotions. Our ability to communicate meaning through sound, and it’s association with these deep emotions, is perhaps why as language developed so did the areas of our brains associated with emotion and memory. After smell, sound is the closest sense linked to memory. Smell almost certainly has it roots in the process of bonding through grooming that is displayed in all the great ape family groups. However, our ability to simultaneously convey our feelings with actions allowed us to build trust through language as well and sound grew in importance. Trust is what humans had to develop to be able to co-ordinate and innovate for the good of wider communities as well as trade between communities. The association of sound and emotion also had a potentially profound effect on how we think. Can you imagine thinking without an inner voice? We can think about actions, visualising processes but language gives a whole new dimension for problem solving and the expression of concepts. This idea of the inner voice and thinking is explored in this fascinating RadioLab podcast.

 
Just as amino acids can be called the building blocks of life, associations can be called the building blocks of thought
— Dr Robert Cialdini
 

One of my favourite quotes from Dr Robert Cialdini’s new book Pre-suasion is “Just as amino acids can be called the building blocks of life, associations can be called the building blocks of thought” and the association of sound with the expression of human emotion is at the core of the importance in the way we say things. Regardless of how and why language evolved, influencing other human beings is a fundamental tenet of all the languages we have ended up with and is now at the forefront of our interaction with artificial intelligence like this year’s must have technology gift.

 
 

Realistic, believable, trustworthy speech synthesis is a fascinating field at the moment and the work of Amazon and Google’s Deep Mind, are certainly leading the way.

While text to speech and speech synthesis have fascinating potential, particularly for application with A Million Ads, they have a long, long way to go to capture the simple beauty and emotion of this classic radio ad… It’s the way you say it or as Bob says, it’s good to talk… 

Sam Crowther, Head of Creative Development

 
 

1985, the year I started listening

Our Head of Creative Development, Sam Crowther, writes about the significance of communicating through audio and the defining sounds on his personal journey.

1985 wasn’t the year I was born.

I’d already been around for over a decade by then, but it was the year I started listening to the world. Of course in a literal sense, we start hearing well before then, even before we’re born the ‘thump thump’ of our mother’s heartbeat is hugely reassuring. Those early years of childhood are preparing us for the world. Our parent’s voices introduce us to language and they also give us a personal sound to identifies us by. A sound we’ll react to more than any other sound for the rest of our lives….our name.

We’re quick to learn the significance of emotion in communicating with sound, you only have to witness the different ways a two-year-old toddler says ‘no!’ to realise the range of emotions that can be behind one, simple, short word. No, I’m talking about a moment when we fully, consciously understand the world of sound and specifically its significance to us as emotional creatures.

I was eleven years old and it was Live Aid.

It was a lovely summers day so we had the radio on outside and the tv on inside. My sisters sat glued to the tv all day while my elder brother and I were out playing cricket with it on as a soundtrack but the one moment that really caught our (and everyone’s) attention that day, was Freddie. At that moment I understood the connection between communication, voice, language, emotion and music. They’re one of the same.

 
 

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it.

A phrase that beautifully sums up the significance of sound, emotion and memory. If you wrote down what Freddie says it makes no sense and no elaborate use of adjectives can ever truly do justice to what you feel listening to it. It’s seared in my memory, in a way the Beatles or Hendrix did for the generation before and artists like Bieber and Adele are doing now. You will probably be thinking of the track, performance or artist that did it for you too. It’s no surprise music becomes so important through our teenage years, it’s the point we start working out what it means to be an emotional human being. The point we understand we can influence others and define who we truly are.

So we start listening to music, friends and media more and our parents less, because defining who you are means you need to start breaking away and learn independence. Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mad Max also had significant impacts on me at that time. I started skateboarding, took an interest in DIY technology and aspired to ride a motorbike (which I’ve done ever since) and again the soundtracks are seared in my memory. However perhaps more significantly for my career is that brands understood the emotional connection sound can deliver.

We heard it through our speakers.

 

1985 was also the year of this iconic ad. The 50’s imagery is very powerful but it’s true impact came from the soundtrack, Marvin Gaye’s break-up song, ‘I heard it through the grapevine’. It began a decade of Levis’ ad soundtracks topping the charts and thus radio playlists, particularly those of the non-commercial but hugely influential, BBC. I heard the emotional values Levis wanted me to feel many more times than I saw them, they’re just blue jeans right! A brand using music to muscle its way into the soundtrack of my generation, whether we liked it or not.

 
 

So 1985 was the year I started listening, taking an interest in the way sound, music, culture and brands mix. Most people don’t analyse it in any depth, but subconsciously it is as much a part of us as our DNA. This was the first step on a personal journey that has led me to Creative Development at A Million Ads and this blog post. In future posts, I will explore and explain how and why personally relevant sound is so powerful with reference to research, theories and campaigns from the past, the present and with an ear on the future.

Sam Crowther, Head of Creative Development

The Sound of Personalisation

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The world is personal

Personalisation is everywhere. Emails, web pages, social feeds, music recommendations, Coke bottles.  And for the most part we accept that brands and companies can talk to us like they know us.

Some brands have more ‘permission’ than others – like Starbucks. We are used to walking into their stores and giving our name (though we may be a little more wary when it comes to PPI claims companies or government agencies).

In fact, our minds are tuned to react more favourably to messages that appear to be for us. We like familiarity and familiar people, so marketing that looks like it’s for us is instinctively more attractive (as long as it’s not delivered in a threatening or creepy way).

This is borne out in the performance of personalised campaigns. The conversion rate on a personalised email campaign for a UK retailer was 8% compared with just 1% on a less targeted campaign; an outdoor clothing retailer used weather-related imagery and changed the product selection based on the current weather and got a 5x uplift in CTR; and, an email campaign that used personalisation beat every KPI record: The number of active customers increased by 20% and open rates were up by 75%.

Dynamic Creative

To deliver these personal, context-aware messages and ads, we use “Dynamic Creative” tools.  Instead of delivering one generalised creative treatment to everyone, these tools deliver customised creative treatments to specific audiences (individuals or groups) that are more likely to be relevant to them.

This is normally done by creating a template, and using data about the recipient (viewer, listener, user) to fill it in. The killer feature of Dynamic Creative is the ability to do this at speed and at scale, efficiently creating millions of versions of ads.

Below is a Dynamic Creative display advert for Vodafone, where the text, language, background picture and product offer are selected dynamically based on where the viewer of the ad is located and whether they are an iPhone or Android user.

Picture credit: Sizmek.

Picture credit: Sizmek.

Where’s Audio in all of this?

Until recently, marketeers have not been able to use audio as a platform for personalisation. Broadcast audio (radio by another name) cannot be personalised due to its one-to-many nature. But digital audio (audio delivered to a connected device) can be. Given that over 65% of all listening to digital audio is on headphones it is a brilliantly personal medium: right into people’s brains with singular messages, not like a webpage where there can be many different commercial messages in view at once. Sound has infinitely more power than text because it is how we express and receive the majority of our personal, emotional information throughout our lives.

This is why I founded A Million Ads: to create a technology solution and – importantly – develop the creative know-how to deliver effective personalisation and dynamic creative for digital audio.

Imagine the audio ads that you hear on your favourite music streaming, internet radio or podcast service being personalised with data about you, such as your name, age, location, favourite music, weather where you are… and changing the actual audio that you hear based on this. We can do this in real time as the ad is played for every user.

And it works: effectiveness and engagement increase significantly as a result. We recently conducted a 2,000 participant survey of digital audio listeners in the UK and demonstrated a 52% uplift in recall and a 49% uplift in engagement in comparison to regular, non-personalised campaigns.

Responsible personalisation

With the ability to talk one-to-one at scale comes responsibility: shouting someone’s name in every advert is going to burn very quickly. Plus robotic voices or edits that are not perfect will be spotted a mile off and kill the credibility of the format. At A Million Ads we take this responsibility very seriously and endeavour to set the standard for personalisation, not only with regards to technology and creative execution, but also appropriate and audience-friendly use of data and overall respect for privacy.

If you are an advertiser or agency currently using digital audio and want to add the personal touch to your campaigns, give me a shout.

Ascension backs personalisation platform, A Million Ads

Ascension Ventures is pleased to announce its investment, from the ASCEND SEIS Fund III, into technology and creative start-up A Million Ads, an innovative digital platform that delivers personalised audio adverts.

Other backers in this round include The Sandpit and multiple angel investors.  In addition to its investment, The Sandpit, a business builder for startups focused on B2B marketing technology, will provide hands-on sales and marketing, strategic and operational support.

A Million Ads delivers dynamic creative and personalisation for digital audio. Think of the ads that you hear on Spotify, Pandora or internet radio being personalised with your name, current location, weather etc…  A Million Ads integrates with the music streaming, internet radio and podcast platforms to combine all of the data points known about the user, their environment and the advertiser’s campaign to influence the message they hear, delivering relevant and personalised ads on-the-fly.  The effectiveness and engagement of the adverts increases significantly: a recent 2,000 participant survey of UK audio listeners demonstrated a 52% uplift in recall and a 49% uplift in engagement, in comparison to regular, non-personalised campaigns.

Steve Dunlop, founder and CEO of A Million Ads commented:

“Personalisation is an inevitable evolution for audio advertising and at A Million Ads we have built a robust, scalable, industry standard platform that is ready to be implemented on a global scale with some of the most recognised music and audio services, and are ready to power that with some of the best creative out there.

My 15 year’s experience is a mix of engineering, creative and strategy and A Million Ads is the coming together of many of these aspects: engineering at Cambridge University, a radio producer making adverts and jingles, a strategy consultant for the BBC, Intel and Vodafone and, most recently, Head of Strategy at Global, the UK’s largest Commercial radio operator.  I’m passionate about Audio and believe that the values and sensibilities of one-to-one communication, when applied to the scale and efficiency of digital advertising, will significantly improve its effectiveness and impact with users.”  He added, “I am delighted to be working alongside Ascension.  Their strategic input and business development expertise is a massive plus.”

Ascension Ventures CEO Jean de Fougerolles added:

“When I first met Steve, I was excited by the product he had built and the traction he had achieved with some of the biggest players in this space.  I believe we are very close to a world where personalisation in advertising is the norm.  Steve has a very credible track record in the advertising and creative space and I am excited to see how big A Million Ads can become.”

Ascension Ventures will be announcing further investments from the ASCEND SEIS Fund III over the coming weeks.

About Ascension Ventures

The Ascension Ventures team has deep knowledge of the digital media and tech sectors having worked at a senior level in these industries.  The team is embedded in the London early-stage market, having established strong relationships with the tech hubs (Wayra, Microsoft, Entrepreneur First, Founders Factory, Mass Challenge, Accelerator Academy, eSpark, Google, etc.).  Their strong industry knowledge and contacts help to attract the most compelling early-stage digital media companies and the best entrepreneurs looking for more than just money from their investors.

If you have any questions, please email – kieran@ascensionventures.com

About A Million Ads

A Million Ads delivers personalised audio creative on-the-fly and at scale, driving higher brand engagement and greater media effectiveness.  We are the new standard for data-driven creative, enabling brands to engage people with the right content at any given moment.  We make this possible by combining technology with innovation in the creative process to deliver relevant and personalised digital audio ads in real time.

If you have any questions, please email – steve@amillionads.com 

A Million Ads Strengthens Team with Power of Sound Pioneer

Dynamic creative and personalisation startup underlines the importance of creative in latest leadership hire, Sam Crowther, former Creative Director at Bauer Media.

June 22, 2016, London, UK. A Million Ads (www.amillionads.com), is excited to announce and welcome Sam Crowther as the Company’s Head of Creative Development. Sam will take the creative lead and will support the senior team on the mission to revolutionise digital advertising communication. 

Sam comes with a wealth of experience within the digital audio industry and is a thought leader on the “Power of Sound”. He was previously at Bauer Media, where he first served as Head of Creative and then Creative Director (Commercial Audio). He is also former Head of Creative Development at Global Radio. 

“A Million Ads is the technological, evolutionary next step for audio advertising – radio, streaming, video… whatever, wherever to whoever!” said Sam. “It’s such an exciting time to be joining the team taking the story to market. I want to inspire creative that talks to people like they’re one in a million, not one of a million. That’s so much more human….don’t you think?”

Sam will develop the company’s data-driven personalised communication playbook, in a function at the intersection of technology and creativity, and to lead the creative idea as well as the A Million Ads platform development. He will play a key role in the company’s goal to create a better, more intimate and personalised connection between brands and consumers.

“With Sam joining the team we are clearly signalling how important creative is to our business. He is the master at evangelising about the power of sound, and personalisation is the next chapter of his thesis” states Steve Dunlop, Founder and CEO of A Million Ads, “Delivering data-driven creative for audio is much more than a technology solution: having Sam on board will enable us to create the most engaging, relevant and brilliant campaigns for our clients.”.

About A Million Ads

A Million Ads delivers dynamic creative and personalisation for digital audio. We are the new standard for data-driven creative, enabling brands to engage people with the right content at any given moment. We make this possible by combining technology with innovation in the creative process to deliver relevant and personalised digital audio ads on-the-fly.  

 

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: in the picture, Sam Crowther

Other media: Sam Crowther presenting at AdWeek Europe 2016, in April (link)

 

Media Contact

A Million Ads

Steve Dunlop

07967 601617