What will advertising on voice sound like?

The voice boom is coming, so brands need start shifting their focus: Forget what advertisements in the future will look like – what will they sound like?

The rising popularity of voice-enabled devices, be they digital assistants or smart home speakers, means advertising on such platforms are emerging – and paid opportunities are almost non-existent.

Consumer trusts isn’t there

Microsoft’s head of evangelism for search, Christi Olson, said her company isn’t yet advertising on its platforms because consumer trust isn’t there yet.

The company ran a survey that found consumers are unsure of how their data is being used, and when exactly the devices are listening.

Cautious advertising

This friction may hinder paid advertising opportunities, but it isn’t deterring consumers from engaging with voice-enabled devices. Information from Alpine.AI shows there are over one billion voice searches per month on smart assistants, as of January 2018.

Jim Cridlin, global head of innovation at Mindshare, explains this consumer-platform relationship as a ‘trust truce,’ where consumers are using a device that meets their needs, while companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple are taking a cautiously deliberate approach to advertising so they don’t alienate users.

“It’s not that brands don’t want to take advantage of [paid advertising opportunities],” Cridlin claims. “I think it’s the other side of the equation. It’s the platform owners that aren’t yet ready for brands to advertise their content. They want to get the behavior in place, go from the trust truce to one of total trust, before they introduce advertising on their platforms.”

Using data to enhance

The simple fact that speaking is easier for most users than typing means voice-enabled devices are here to stay. And advertising on such platforms must reflect that seamless mode of communication.

Senior vice president of digital commerce at Geometry Global, Doug Chavez, said platform owners are wary of paid advertisements because they may disrupt the user experience.

“As long as the ads are complementary to what [users are] looking for versus interruptive or intrusive consumers would be fine with that,” said Chavez. “One of the things that’s interesting — if you look at millennials, they are happy to give their data away if it makes their experience better. It’s just a matter of looking at the data you have and how does that magnify rather than dilute [users’] experience.

A report from Mindshare outlined an instance where Google Home users “kicked up a fuss when Google Assistant reported that ‘Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast opens today’ after it delivered the time, weather and travel update.”

Google took that ad down, but there are other ways for brands to reach consumers via voice. That starts with content optimization, as search is the what drives responses from devices.

Optimising for voice search

“It’s not necessarily advertisements. It’s serving answers to the questions that are getting asked today,” says Olson. “It goes back to really understanding organic search optimization to become that spoken response. And making sure that you are writing your content on a page in a conversational tone so when the search engines crawl the site, that they can see the questions and the responses that can then be spoken aloud back to a given customer or consumer.”

According to Cridlin, the web of the future will be invisible, thanks partly to the proliferation of voice-enabled technologies. With this inevitable platform disruption, brands that prioritize optimization will find value in  opportunities that can provide valuable content.

Consumers are increasingly moving toward voice, and it’s only natural for brands to follow. The big names that adapt and find their voices on these platforms could be the ones to have the hearts of future spenders.

Source: The Drum

2018 Marketing Trends

As businesses prepare to enter their biggest quarter of the year, we look at how the big trends are faring so far. Where are brands putting their money? And more importantly, where should they be putting it?

Organic Social Media

The general view on organic social media is that it is on its’ way out. However, research by OneChocolate showed that 59% of marketers have increased their investment in this area over the past 12 months. Notably, a big area for investment is hiring talent in the form of skilled strategists and content creators. 

Social vs. traditional media

While social media platforms race to prove to users they can protect their data, there has been a resurgence of trust in newspapers and magazines (MediaCom, 2017). Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter all reported declining user numbers in their half-year results.

Brits’ concern over what’s fact and fiction is heightened. Only 4% of Brits can identify fake news stories correctly.

Podcasts: niche to mainstream

While podcasts have been around for over a decade, 2018 has seen the medium switch from niche to mainstream. 61% of UK adults now regularly listen to at least one podcast, with 21% listening once a week. 68% say that they were more likely to listen to a podcast today than three years ago (Spotify, 2017). 

This increased interest in podcasts is potentially lucrative for brands. 70% of listeners have heard podcast advertising, and a huge 76% of those took action afterwards, such as looking for more brand info online, visiting a brandʼs website or sharing brand information online (Acast, 2018).

Brands and broadcast

UK streaming subscriptions recently overtook pay-TV broadcasters for the first time. Ofcom’s latest report shows Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV reached 15.4m subscriptions, whereas pay-TV suppliers such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media logged 15.1m. People are watching less TV – down an average of nine minutes over the past year.

Influencers: is the market saturated?

Influencer marketing has been the hot trend for what feels like forever, but marketers have had to fight to stay ahead of rapidly increasing influencer costs and stricter advertising guidelines.

25% of consumers would consider buying a product endorsed by someone with over 1m followers. Meanwhile, 50% would be “likely” or “very likely” to purchase if promoted by an influencer with a smaller following but considered to be a specialist in that area (Zine, 2018).


Video continues to go from strength to strength as a key marketing tool for brands across all sectors and audiences. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they view a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text format (insivia, 2017). The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video than one without.

Voice search

Voice technologies are making their way from early adopter territory into the mainstream. 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months (BrightLocal, 2018), while one in five EU consumers have shopped using voice or text agents (Mastercard, 2018). 

Google data shows mobile searches for “should I” and “do I need” have each grown more than 65%, while those starting with “can I” have grown by more than 85%.

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