The idea of the interactive ad widget is being taken a step further with a new acquisition by a major ad network. Traffic Marketplace has bought out Livemarkets, a company that’s developed technology to build real-time chat into advertising banners.
The idea is to let the advertiser make himself available to customers and connect with them, right inside the ad itself. The process doesn’t require any extra downloads and doesn’t navigate you away from the page. The chat system is set up to route requests to any available agent within the advertiser’s office, or to send overflow requests to call centers trained to handle the inquiries.
All in all, this actually isn’t a half-bad idea for the 2.0 world. If it’s done well and placed on the right types of pages, it could add a valuable layer of interaction that’d be helpful to customers as well as to the company. Of course, it could also result in a lot of “prank” chats, but I think that’s where proper placement on the right types of pages comes into play.
Livemarkets has been around since last year. This acquisition, however, will mark its first mainstream distribution channel since its inception. Terms of the agreement aren’t being made public.