Voice Marketing and voiceware will be the game changer for advertising, content strategy and user journey.
Voice Marketing and voiceware: What does it mean for the advertiser and digital media marketing landscape?
Voice Assistant is the new media type & voice marketing will cover lot many user-journey points than ever.
Voice assistants are still controversial: sometimes it’s about how „smart“ Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Bixby & Cortana are, then they are criticized for „listening in on everything“ and violating privacy. But what exactly do Alexa and the other voice assistants mean for the user, consumer, potential customers and how do the advertisers have to be prepared for the new voice marketing era? Let us firstly understand the aspects related with media planning, advertising dimensions, media consumption and “being in the relevant set” in connection in the voice assistant media type with voice marketing as a part of media strategy, communication strategy, digital media and marketing and content strategy.Voice assistants will be omnipresent
Voice assistants will be omnipresent
User behaviour changes with more dependence on voice assistants. When the first smartphone appeared on the market eleven years ago, nobody probably thought that one day it could become an important commodity and a business foundation for various business areas. It is now one of the main parts of point of sales, part of communication, part of advertising and so on.
The phenomenon of smartphone is not only found in certain age groups or socio-demographic layers, but really „omnipresent“. We will experience the same development with the use of voice assistants. With the smartphones came the app stores and in the same manner the voice assistants are accompanies by the skill stores (Action Stores on Google), making the smart speaker devices even smarter. Functionalities, those voice assistants do not yet have, can be „taught“ with help of a skill. Although, one could use voice assistants or smart speakers even without skills, as one can use a smartphone without apps. Obviously, the benefits of using smart speakers in this case are going to be limited. Thus, Amazon Alexa skill store, Google Assistant action store or even the Samsung Bixby capsule marketplaces are going to play a crucial role when it comes to user communication, product communication, brand perception and in the years to come push marketing activities.
Voice Assistant as a new media type
The more time the users, potential customers and content consumer spend with the Alexa and Google Assistant of this world, the more important the touchpoint „Voice assistants and Smart Speakers“ becomes for publishers, content creators and advertisers. Not to forget the whole echo system around digital marketing will have direct impact because even voice data management, voice analytics, voice marketing-based brand safety etc. things will follow for the measurement of Return on Media Investment.
The voice assistants can help users at home. They are almost omnipresent and no longer just stay in the living room, but also get their own space in the kitchen or in the bedroom. They are new roommates and companions when we are on the road. Skills, actions and capsules provide valuable information to users and thus relevant from marketing and communication view point. Just think of changes happening in the podcast listening habits. There are listeners hearing the podcasts by activating Alexa skills. So from content and marketing point, offering podcast contents only as app or only on the website is not enough. The touchpoint has changed…marketing mindset needs to follow the change. Users are using voice assistants and smart speakers for more and more tasks of everyday life. The usage is becoming mature and not limited to, as typically thought by many, to ask for the weather, time and travel information from A to B. For brands, product manufacturers and advertisers, this will automatically mean increased attention for the new media type “voice assistant”, more strategic thinking about own “skills, actions and capsules”.
It is not only about hardware or software…it is about voiceware
Don’t just think in the hardware and software worlds, when it comes to Voice Marketing and user journey. For the voice marketing strategies, we need to think about voiceware, where the hardware is accompanied with voice convenience features. We will see a range of voice-enabled devices. It is not going to be limited to smartphones, tablets, smart speakers more ever the voice assistants are becoming integral part of a lot of white goods. The voiceware type of devices are going to understand, collect, process, analyse and deliver solid data about user behaviour, usage, habits, interests, preferences, right to consume media and purchase time. The voiceware category is emerging as the biggest user-behaviour-changer.
Voiceware is going to play a decisive part in reach, advertising and user journey as a touchpoint
Voiceware is going to be the key. Few years back it all started with Audio-Smart Speakers like Amazon Echo Dot. Then it was followed by Amazon Echo Show (the only Audio-Visual Smart Speaker with touch functionalities). Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung all are still offering Audio-Smart Speakers even in 2019. Obviously, the things will change…rather they have to! It is going to inevitable. Besides the smart speakers there are already voicewares like wall clocks, microwaves, smoke detectors, cctv camera, door bells becoming part of the voiceware world. More devices will follow.
If we look at the advertising eco-system, Google is having almost everything required for digital advertising, be it an ad server, be it programmatic buying and selling platforms, be it analytics. Thus, in the advertising world, Google will surely use its current power and will surely go for its voice walled garden solutions. The biggest weakness of Google compared to Amazon is, Google can guess, do predictive calculation about the buying time but still does not know the exact buying pattern, buying point.
Amazon on the other hand knows a lot about buying preferences, buying times, buying pattern, comparisons etc. and can push the voice commerce using its own eco system. For all those, who have seen Amazon Echo Show 5, they could immediately notice one point that the screen size is similar to smartphone screen size. May be Amazon is preparing for the “mobile text+image ad” kind of format(?) Amazon is having own voiceware, own voice assistant and also the programmatic advertising capabilities!
Microsoft is surely strong in the B2B world and can use its Cortana for more and more B2B solutions. Thus, Cortana could play a major role in digitalisation of business processes but is less relevant from advertising perspective and also for voice marketing strategies.
Apple is surely strong with its Siri voice assistant on the Apple devices but the active reach, usage and relevance is decreasing. Apple could be one of the relevant players but I still see them behind Samsung.
Not to forget, Samsung is the only out of all the big 5 with multi-device capabilities and actually having a chance to have own vertical and horizontal integration of voice assistant and voiceware worlds. Samsung is present in Smartphone, Tablet, Smart TV, (Smart) Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Microwave, Monitor, Laptops and several other devices we require in kitchen, in bedroom, in leaving room, in working room etc. Hence in the next 5 to 8 years it will be surely a severe competition about reach, reachability of the user with multi-device possibilities. Interesting will be to see, whether Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft join hands to keep Google also out of the race.
The search will be much more controlled by the search doorkeepers
As advertisers, all advertiser companies want to reach the right audience at the right time and at the right price. Voice assistants and skills could help immensely to reach the target group. Based on the target group behaviour, an individualized brand image can be presented and the exact „purchase time or consumption point“ can be predicted. A dream for many advertisers: getting closer to the target group and being able to accompany them in their everyday lives. The problem is that there is not room for everyone. Alexa, Bixby and Google Assistant scan the market and ultimately recommend only what they want to recommend. And that does not necessarily have to be what the user really wants to see or hear. So, the optimization for voice search and voice assistant is immensely important.
As a part of Voice Marketing, advertisers must already think seriously about existing touchpoints such as their websites. How to find someone who is looking for a product, their own brand or services offered by voice command? The existing contents, content hubs or touchpoints on the own website up to FAQs have to be optimized for the voice search and voice assistants. Because voice search works differently than the type-in search. It will become more and more relevant in the future that voice assistants also recommend the brands, products or services that the advertiser offers. Advertisers need to think about their voice marketing strategies. Alexa may theoretically know all the brands and products on the market, but it will not mention ten brands or products, but may be only two or three products. That’s all!
It is highly recommended to be already present with the voice assistant world. With a skill and voice search optimizations, you can get started, use lessons learned, and gain experience in user behaviour, voice assistant preferences, and algorithm. Advertisers could leverage this new One-To-One Media type by clever voice marketing strategies.