Smart Speaker Marketing

Smart speakers come in many shapes and sizes and have been making a splash in the tech industry in the last 18 months. The most popular smart speakers thus far are the Amazon Echo series featuring Alexa and the Google Home line featuring Google Assistant. Amazon has a lion’s share of the market controlling over 70% of it right now.

The latest report from NPR and Edison Research estimates that there are almost 120 million smart speakers in U.S. homes. These smart devices are changing how people consume news, find information, and plan their days. As consumers get their news through these devices, we will see these speakers having an impact on digital marketing, too, as more ads pop up and brands find other ways to use smart speakers as marketing tools.


Are consumers interested in hearing ads?

2018 saw a rapid increase in households with a smart speaker so we know people are interested in the technology. But do consumers want to have ads spoken at them by these devices driven by artificial intelligence? Studies by Search Engine Land and LSA Insider found the following:

  • 30% of consumers would be willing to hear an ad if they are asked before it plays

  • 25% of consumers would be willing to hear an ad if the ad is personalized

  • 18% of consumers would be willing to hear an ad embedded into the speaker’s answer

  • 23% of consumers would be willing to hear an ad if it connects to a brand that they’ve liked on a social media platform


How are brands currently using smart speakers for marketing?

As of early April 2019, neither Amazon Echo nor Google Home offered brands the opportunity to purchase advertisements. Additionally, neither company has immediate plans to enter that sector. That being said, there are workarounds for brands interested in leveraging the popularity of smart speaker technology.

Marketing content is more likely to land in front of target audiences when presented on channels such as Google Home’s “My Day” or Amazon Echo’s “Flash Briefing.” Brands can purchase ad space on Alexa versions of podcasts, news sources, and music streaming services that integrate with Flash Briefing to daily get their content in front of their target audience. It is worth mentioning that such ad deals have to be worked out directly with the publisher. Your brand may want to consider running trial ads on podcasts and other Flash Briefing content to start understanding what content works best for your business so you are ready to hit the ground running when an official ad platform launches.

More smart speaker users are turning to the technology for not only news but also for a myriad of entertainment topics. In response, other businesses are creating a branded Alexa Skill or Google Home app that is either related to their brand’s industry or provides some sort of useful service. The tequila brand, Patròn, created a Skill called Ask Patròn that provides cocktail recipes that incorporate the brand’s tequila. These apps are providing rich opportunities for brands to interact with their target audience while providing value-added content.

Brands are also delving into the background technical to make sure their products and services rank well on voice search results so the smart speakers are more likely to pull up their brand’s answers first. Aum shares six tips to best optimize for voice search:

  • Secure your site with HTTPS 

  • Use structured Data to tell web crawlers what the content on a page means

  • Improve your mobile site speed

  • Create a FAQ page as the content is in the perfect format for voice search

  • Publish blog posts that answer your user’s

  • Use conversational content to help AI better determine intent


What about Siri?

Some people might throw Apple’s Siri into the mix when talking about smart speakers but, in reality, Siri is an apple in a basket of oranges (pun intended). Siri is a virtual personal assistant just like Amazon’s Alexa and other technologies. Beyond the fact that Siri responds to voice, however, it belongs in a different category.

Siri is only on Apple mobile devices and is tightly controlled by the company. For the most part, Siri needs to be close to you to have a conversation versus Alexa’s ability to hear you from across the room. And, while Alexa and other similar technologies require a stable Wi-Fi connection, Siri is happy to travel in your pocket, in your car, or on your wrist. Interestingly, Apple is trying to make Siri more accessible in the home via Apple TV while Amazon has made Alexa portable.

According to a Pew Research 2019 report, 81% of Americans own a smartphone. In addition to that statistic, Chatmeter found that 90% of smartphone owners use the digital assistant on their device, over 40% of whom do so on an Apple device. So, what can you do to make sure Siri finds your brand?

  • Claim your business listing not only on Google Maps but also on Apple Maps

  • Claim your business on local listing sites like Bing, Yahoo, CitySearch, Yelp, etc.

  • Ensure that all of your online listings are exactly the same so Siri doesn’t think your listings represent different businesses

  • Employ strong keyword strategies in your listings and on your website with a focus on long tail keywords and phrases

  • Encourage satisfied customers to post reviews and positively rate your business as Siri uses ratings and reviews to determine which businesses to recommend

  • Make your business easier for Siri to find by using rich snippets and schema microdata on your brand’s website


Whether it is Siri or Alexa, Google Home or Cortana, we’ll continue to see advances in the technology behind voice search. The best strategy is to find workarounds when marketing opportunities aren’t provided outright and to be ready to go when those marketing options do open up.

The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand how overwhelming the impact new technology can have on both novice and experienced companies. Our team can’t wait to see how these marketing trends continue to improve and reshape the world of marketing. We’d love to deep dive into your business to better understand how SDM can help you utilize the latest marketing techniques to offer a user experience your customers will love. We’ll listen, ask a lot of questions, and create a marketing plan uniquely tailored to your brand. Contact us today to get started!

Cover photo by John Tekeridis from Pexels