New smart speaker ownership data from NPR and Edison Research confirms the impact the 2017 holiday season had on smart speaker ownership in the U.S. Now, one-in-six Americans (16%) owns a voice-activated smart speaker, up 128% from January 2017.
The Smart Audio Report, Fall/Winter 2017 release also reveals how voice-activation in the home is fueling adoption of smart technology broadly – including smart home applications – and affecting how often consumers engage with other platforms throughout the day, including television.
TOP REASONS MARKETERS ARE PAYING ATTENTION TO SMART SPEAKERS
1. Audiences and consumers are quickly adopting smart speakers.
Ownership is at 16% of the U.S. population in just three years1, already outpacing the adoption rates of smartphones and tablets2. Gartnerpredicts 75% of U.S. households will have smart speakers by 20203.
2. Consumer touch points are becoming consumer listening points for brands.
In August 2017, Adweek called voice AI “the next frontier of brand marketing. And Forbes reported: “Users are looking for something home-based to centralize all their devices and needs. Smart speakers are filling that void.”
3. These devices are forcing a change in marketing strategy across categories.
comScore estimates 50% of all search will be via voice tech by 2020.
Toyota, Campbell’s Soup and Unilever are already leveraging voice-activated Watson Ads that allow viewers to “talk” with a brand ad and are seeing strong results.
“We have already begun to see that consumers are spending more time with these cognitive ads than with other digital ads,” says Carrie Seifer, CRO for IBM Watson content and IoT platform.
4. For marketers, smart speaker devices require a more personalized approach to reaching audiences.
“If you think about a brand that has spent millions… on digital marketing – banner adverts, apps and things like that – suddenly they are having to wrestle with a device that has no screen,” SharpEnd founder Cameron Worth told Marketing Week last fall. And while some smart speaker models now feature screens, this isn’t a guarantee.
“What looks good on paper isn’t necessarily what we hear [Alexa’s] voice say,” said Stephanie Hay, Head of Conversation Design at Capital One. “We have to do shifts to the experience like saying ‘hi there’… which is a more approachable welcome. We also have to balance everything that we would create as part of the Capital One brand against something that people already expect from the Alexa voice.”4
5. Smart speaker devices present big engagement opportunities for brands.
“[1-800-Flowers] does not look at these channels as advertising channels but as engagement channels,” said Chris McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com3.
People frequently use more words and context when conducting a search via voice, providing brands and advertisers more insight into where the consumer is within the purchase funnel, according to Campaign.
Beyond search, smart speakers offer solutions for tactics from content marketing to paid advertising in streaming platforms such as NPR One.