It has been observed of late, that Google is moving into territory beyond their traditional frontiers. They launched Google Voice recently, which has more to do with the field of telecommunications than computers, and now, rather unsurprisingly, they are looking at these expansions as a means of generating more advertising revenue in future.
The publication of an application for a patent from Google for ‘Ringback Advertising’ is an indication of this intention.
What ‘Ringback Advertising’ actually refers to technology that allows Google to detect when a person dials a number, and determine whether to play an audio ad before the recipient answers the phone.
In its original form, Ringback Tone Advertising (also known as Ringback Advertising and Ad Ring Back Tones) is a new feature available from a number of mobile phone services where the ringtone normally heard by a caller is replaced with an audio advertising message. The advertisement playback stops when the call is answered.
Google’s Ringback Advertising system would be able to detect call origination from a number and determine which ad to play, based on categories associated with the audio ad and the caller.
Ads placed via the new system could be inserted when a call is on hold, during call waiting, and even when the caller is still dialing his number.
The patent that has been published online, gives an indication of the features which would be incorporated in the service, when it is started. They are:
- Ringback Advertising will be similar to online Google ads, in that they will be auction based
- At the time of auction, advertisers will be able to state their preferred caller location, and their products will be sorted by category
- Caller location will be considered when deciding which ads to relay
- Callers will also be able to choose the category of ads they would be interested in
- Advertisers will not be charged a fixed amount every time their ad is played, but will be charged according to the length of time for which the user listens to the ad
- For optimization of the service, metrics such as ‘Listen through ratio’ will be made available
- Third party publishers, who wish to play Google’s audio ads through their own audio system, will be able to do so, at a price of course!
At present these features are only tentative, and only once Google finalises how and when to implement this service will the final details be made available.
Ericsson already offers multimedia ringback and ringback advertising options to operators. Research from the mobile manufacturer has also found that consumers rate Ringback Advertising as the 2nd most acceptable form of mobile advertising.
Google’s patent does not specify whether the system will be limited to mobiles or will also cover landlines. If the patent were to be granted, the system would likely need to be platform / media independant.
Could this mean that Google Ringback Advertising will take Ericsson’s innovation a step further by introducing it on landlines as well as mobiles?