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IBM Ads Launch In-Banner Video, Audio, Text Chat

Helping to blur the line between marketing and sales, a new display ad unit being used by IBM in a B2B campaign launches video chat with IBM sales reps.

Two new IBM banner ads running on B2B sites, inviting visitors to connect directly with an IBM "concierge" to discuss the Express Advantage product suite, reports ClickZ. Visitors can launch a chat session within the ad unit, without leaving the page. Using video, VoIP and text chat technology, the LiveBanner ads are an AVivocom product. The IBM chat ad units will appear on various B2B sites, including Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, and some "non-traditional environments" in eight U.S. cities.

"If your business is not exactly big, and not exactly small, you're in exactly the right place," the banner's text reads. A moving arrow tells users "start your live chat here." A click on the ad starts a video image of an IBM sales rep who issues a greeting; users can chat via text or speak via a Skype connection.

Prospects are reportedly spending almost two minutes on average in video chat mode and qualified leads are in the thousands. IBM is AVivocom's first U.S. client; agency of record Ogilvy helped with the deployment. AVivocom says three other clients have signed on for similar campaigns.

A demo video of a European version of the LiveBanner is available here.

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