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Smart Speaker Owners Say NO to Adverts

A new online study from NetElixir has revealed that the majority of Smart-Speaker users DO NOT want to receive ads via their Voice Assistants. So, how can brands still reach their target audience via this powerful new marketing tool?

NetElixir’s “Search without Screens” survey (which you can find here) of US adults took a look at the use of Voice Assistants on various devices and took away some interesting findings.

As well as some very positive results for Voice-First technology, such as almost half of respondents conducting at least ONE smart search every day, there was potentially worrying feedback for advertisers.

Survey respondents were asked: “Under which circumstances would you welcome sponsored content or advertised product suggestions while using voice search on your virtual assistants?” which generate the following responses:

“Under which circumstances would you welcome sponsored content or advertised product suggestions while using voice search on your virtual assistants?” SOURCE: NetElixir’s “Search without Screens”.

By far the most positive response (of 38%) was that advertising would be welcomed if it was “relevant” to the consumer. On its own, this is not a worrying statistic at all. After all, advertising is all about finding the right, targeted audience who are interested in your product and Voice-Firsts AI algorithms and potential for personalisation combined with Google and Amazons consumer knowledge means that there is no excuse for delivering irrelevant advertisements. However its the additional comments form NetElixer with regards to this research may ring some alarm bells:

“We found 129 raw responses that explicitly rejected ads with a voice search. These responses tended to be emotional and uncompromising in nature, such as “No conditions – I’ll stop using voice search first” and “I’m already paying to use the device; do not want sponsored content on top of it.”

This presents an interesting challenge. We know that Smart-Speaker and Voice-Assistant users are, in the main, happy to purchase products via their voice first devices (even from the data gathered in this survey that 28% of those surveyed made voice purchases) but, if they are unreceptive to the idea of commercial product placement, how do advertisers and brands reach them?

The answer is content.

If brands and advertisers can create content that Smart-Speaker users want, or even need, then the ability to “sell” to them via this platform suddenly opens up. You only have to look at Facebook to see how accepting of advertising an audience can be if they really WANT to use access content.

The future of Smart Speaker advertising/promotion is slightly different to Facebook’s “targeted advertising” strategy for me, however; Rather than pre-roll advertisements before content is delivered or “commercial breaks”. With Voice First these messages are too obstructive, they cant be skipped or ignored (like those annoying YouTube pre-roll ads) and largely serve as added noise in a users journey.

I think the real success will be found with ‘branded content’. Content consumers want that re-enforces commercial and brand messages; a baby-development app made by Pampers, Traffic-information provided by BMW… the possibilities are endless and, with the facility that Voice provides can all be accompanied by commercial messages and the option to find out more, if the consumer wishes, with a single utterance. Podcasting company Gimlet Media have already explored this world during their partnership with Oral B in creating the Amazon Echo Skill “Chompers” (which I wrote about here) and I expect many more brands to follow suit.

If you want help adding “voice” to your brand and harnessing the power of Smart-Speaker technology then contact HIVE Content.

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