Valassis announces new service to trigger mobile coupons from TV/radio ads or videos

Marketing services firm says Audible Offers is the first such wide-scale effort connecting ads or videos heard through speakers to a mobile wallet.

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From Valassis

Valassis is today launching a new service that loads a coupon on your phone’s or tablet’s mobile wallet, in response to audio from a TV, video or radio ad that is played over speakers.

Through the new service, called Audible Offers, a compatible app recognizes an inaudible signal in the soundtrack. The marketing services firm says this is the first wide-scale deployment of coupons delivered to a mobile device and triggered by an audio signal in an ad or video. The technology is provided through an agreement — exclusive for retail offers — with TV ad platform ACTV8me.

To get the triggered coupon, the user has previously downloaded an app that incorporates Valassis’ software development kit (SDK). Upon installation, she has chosen either to allow listening by the app at all times or to only allow listening when that option is selected in the app. If the latter, the user can turn off the listening at any time. Once delivered, the coupon can be stored in the iOS or Android device’s wallet or in an app’s wallet.

If the triggering media is a TV ad or a video (as opposed to a radio ad), a visual symbol appears onscreen for the viewer’s benefit, indicating a downloadable coupon. When the app recognizes the inaudible signal, the user receives a push notification to the mobile device’s locked screen that a coupon has been downloaded, and a click on the notification’s link brings the user to the coupon. The coupon, stored in a mobile wallet, can then be redeemed at a retailer’s online or physical store.

Valassis Digital president Cali Tran told me that, since the user can be targeted by mobile ID or info obtained during the app’s installation, the coupon might be different for a frequent customer of that brand, compared to someone who is not yet a customer.

Tran declined to mention any of 50 apps in Valassis’ network that have agreed to use the SDK, although he noted the network includes well-known shopping apps like Groupon, Coupon Sherpa, Shopular and eBay’s RedLaser. At some point, he said, Valassis intends to release its own apps as well. He also declined to mention any advertisers who have signed up for the service.

For users who might question if the app is listening when permission has not been granted, Tran said it doesn’t, adding that “privacy and consumer choice are the default option.” The company said no audio is recorded, and no other data is being processed other than the inaudible signal — although, obviously, the app is continuously listening for a recognizable signal once permission has been granted.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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