Opera Debuts New Voice, Video Ads

Opera Mediaworks, the mobile advertising unit of browser maker Opera, introduced new voice and ad units on Wednesday designed to drive engagement for developers and publishers. Along with the new ad formats, the company is also rolling out a new platform called Mediaworks Studio for building and distributing video ad creative across ad networks.

Opera is partnering with Nuance Communications to offer the voice ad units that use speech recognition technology to “talk” to consumers. Think Siri as pitchwoman. The Nuance Voice Ads feature pre-recorded scripts that can help direct people to certain actions within display ads like “Share on Facebook” or “Email me this deal.”

JetBlue is the first national brand to use the voice ads through Opera as part of its new “Air on the side of humanity” campaign, which draws a visual analogy between pigeons and beleaguered airline travelers. The JetBlue voice ad instructs users in how to “speak pigeon,” with sounds or words scrolling from right to left when the user says the specific prompt.

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Nuance launched the voice ads earlier this year, providing developers wit an SDK (software development kit) to build the technology into their apps and allow networks, like Millennial Media, to serve the ad format in banners or interstitial ads. The SDK for AdMarvel, Opera’s in-app ad-serving and optimization system, incorporates support for the Nuance technology.

The AdMarvel SDK also now allows developers to tap into its new VideoRich ad units that include interactive overlays for mobile video campaigns, such as social media features or full rich media executions. Video advertising is still limited in mobile. A new Interactive Advertising Bureau study released Tuesday showed that only 19% of brand marketers surveyed are using mobile video ads, compared to 35% using mobile rich media.

eMarketer has projected that U.S. mobile video ad spend will reach $518 million this year.

Opera Mediaworks boasts more than 60 billion ad impressions per month through 13,000 mobile sites and apps that reach 400 million consumers a month globally. In addition to AdMarvel, the platform also encompasses mobile ad networks Mobile Theory and 4th Screen Advertising, the Opera Mobile Store, and Opera Payment Exchange, its mobile payments service. 

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