Market Trends

How voice assistants are changing online advertising

Written by
15 Apr, 2019

Voice assistants are increasingly becoming a staple in our our daily lives. Since Apple's Siri was introduced in 2011, others, like Google Assistant, have followed and voice recognition technology has significantly improved.

Voice assistants have especially taken off in the last couple of years with the introduction of smart speakers. By the end of 2018, 66.4 million Americans (over 25% of the adult population) owned one. By 2023, the number of voice assistants in use globally is set to reach 8 billion—three times the number active at the end of 2018.

searchWhile widespread adoption of voice search technology is in its early stages, voice is driving some big shifts in the way people search and make purchases online. It’s still too early to know exactly how advertising will fit with voice, especially as smart speakers become more ubiquitous. But while we wait to see a fuller picture on that, here are some of the main trends advertisers should keep an eye on.

Major trends in voice

Purchases through voice assistants are growing 

Amazon smart speakerAn October 2018 study showed that nearly one third of smart speaker owners had made a purchase through their device in the last 7 days. As the adoption of smart speakers grows, businesses selling online will need to build strategies around reaching their audiences on this channel.

Smart speakers are also becoming better adapted to consumer behavior: the latest versions of Amazon Echo and Google Home are built with a screen, adding a visual element that enables users to see the items they are browsing with voice. The screen also opens an additional space where advertisers might reach consumers.

New device targeting options are becoming available

audience (1)The music app Pandora recently added smart speaker targeting options for advertisers on their platform and is set to test interactive voice ads. These interactive ads allow listeners to respond by speaking out loud, thus creating an actionable element. Unlike traditional radio ads, this format offers advertisers the exciting possibility of being able to measure how many consumers are interacting with their audio ads.

While major players like Google and Amazon don’t yet let advertising run directly through their assistants, this kind of in-app advertising could become more widespread.

new and innovative ways to reach customers

Companies are already exploring how to reach customers through voice. Nutella recently ran a promotional campaign for National Pancake Day in which Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant users could request a free sample, putting an innovative spin on a traditional way to boost loyalty and draw in new customers.

Another innovative example was Burger King, who ran an award-winning video ad designed specifically to activate Google Home devices, prompting them to read out information about their Whopper Burger.

more audience insights

Several companies are now offering voice analytics services. Gaining insight on how consumers use voice assistants adds another layer to our understanding of the customer journey and enables advertisers to improve targeting and ad experiences.

So, how do you sell your brand on voice?

While direct advertising options start to emerge and evolve on voice, today there are still ways to begin promoting your brand and selling via this growing marketing channel.

Remember, the difference with voice assistants (compared to other channels) is that they are all about interaction and providing answers. Your brand could effectively reach voice users by building a strategy to provide relevant information when users need it.

Google home

In voice search, for example, voice assistants read out the “position zero” result of a Google query—the featured snippet that appears at the top of the search results. Unlike traditional online search, voice assistants don't list a variety of options to a search query. Some brands are already exploiting this to optimize for voice search, structuring SEO strategy to best answer questions users might ask through voice.

Brands who produce unique and engaging content can also stand out on voice. By providing engaging and interactive experiences—interesting stories, quizzes, games—your brand can increase its chances of getting noticed and building customer loyalty. The key is to understand the motives of the voice user and how these are different to actions taken via text-based searching on a screen.

Brands who consistently answer questions and provide interactive experiences, built for voice, are the ones who will be best positioned to make the most of this burgeoning marketing channel. 

Our eBook: Online Advertising in 2019

MMR_LandingPage_ONLINE-AD-UNITED (1)While you keep an eye on the latest in marketing though voice technology, learn what else you need to know about online advertising today.

Download our eBook guide to Online Advertising in 2019 to learn about:

  • Objectives, targeting, and ad formats across the networks that partner with MakeMeReach - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Google.
  • Advertising best practices for each network.
  • A brief overview of ads and best practices on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Amazon.
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About Kat Peake Kat is the Content Marketing Manager here at MakeMeReach. She keeps her finger on the pulse to bring our readers the latest news about our platform's solutions and online ad tech.

All posts by Kat Peake