Virtual Voice Assistants: How the IoT Creates New Advertising Opportunities

by Figaro Digital

Smart home devices are giving brands a whole new way to advertise to potential customers and we’re quickly seeing many major businesses getting involved.

How is the IoT Providing New Opportunities?

Virtual voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are now increasingly popular. According to Futuresource Consulting, 6.3million of these devices will be shipped in 2016, worth around $890million (£715million).
These virtual voice assistants have also received rave reviews. TechRadar has said:

‘It’s been a long wait for the Amazon Echo to come to the UK but it’s worth it. It’s a device that will turn any home smart and uses voice technology in an intuitive and fun way. The more you try with the Amazon Echo, the better it is.’

But, the next time you ask your Echo or Google Home for the nearest Chinese restaurant, a dry cleaner that is open on a Sunday, or a recipe for tagine, you may be surprised to be presented with an advertisement among the answers.
After all, if millions of people are investing in these devices each year, they’re prime for targeting a new demographic.

What Brands Currently Use Virtual Assistants to Advertise?

According to Amazon, Echo has thousands of skills and these are constantly being updated. Scotch whisky maker, Johnnie Walker, has been helping people find nearby liquor stores that sell their products using Echo, and have been presenting cocktail recipe ideas once the purchase has been made.
Stephanie Jacoby, VP of Brand Marketing at Johnnie Walker, has said:

“Now that we’ve launched, the next few months will be about learning and optimizing,”
“We want to see where people spend most of their time, what areas are driving repeat visits. We’ll be continuously rolling out updates based on these learnings over the course of the year.”

Jamie Oliver is also available to budding chefs here in the UK via Alexa and Amazon’s Echo. The free skill will suggest meal ideas and read out a brief description of the dish before emailing the steps of the chosen recipe to the user.
The skill will voice information like skill level and cooking time, and it is hoped that it will one day be able to filter recipes according to dietary requirements.
Google Home is yet to get the same treatment. However, Google has revealed it will be opening up its AI software this December in order to help developers and marketers get involved with voice skills opportunities.
Apple’s Siri has been working with brands like Uber for months now and is aiming to integrate voice apps within its iMessage software. But, unlike the others, it doesn’t look like marketers are going to be able to get in on the action any time soon.

What Do You Think?

Will virtual voice assistants become a target device for your marketing efforts anytime soon?