How will voice technology change the way information is served up?
And how will advertisers use it? Will this trend render display advertising obsolete and make it even harder for media to make money?
SAMANTHA OSBORNE MANAGING DIRECTOR MINDSHARE
We stand on the cusp of a fundamental shift in how we relate to computers. Over the past 50 years, we have been on a journey that has simplified our modes of interaction, from punch cards to keyboard, mouse and then touch. Each step has made engagement with technology simpler and more natural, leading us to perhaps the simplest and most natural interaction mode of all—voice.
Voice has been given further impetus by the ambitions of GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) to control their own consumer platforms. Just as Google bought Android so it would have some control of mobile as a platform, so Amazon developed Echo and Alexa to retain influence over the development of voice and its impact on search and shopping.
It seems unlikely that the interruptive model of paid advertising will translate easily to voice. Since a primary expectation for using voice is a more streamlined experience, the insertion of paid-for ads directly into a conversation with an assistant will jar.
With the interruptive ad model in question, brands should consider the following opportunities if they want a share in the significant forecast of sales (predicted) to be driven by digital assistants: A key challenge in a world intermediated by voice assistants will be ensuring your brand or content is chosen by the assistant. Algorithm optimisation will become the new SEO
As voice capabilities spread to new contexts, brands should consider adding voice interactivity to their touchpoints
Brands that develop truly useful content have a great opportunity to engage in direct communication with their consumers
Speaking directly to a brand appears to strengthen emotional relationships. Brands have a great opportunity to define their own voice
Although we are moving to more human interactions with technology, voice vs the physical click, the role of display advertising is still important in the ecosystem of a brand – visual recognition of a brand or message is still one of the key benefits we have as humans. What will become apparent very quickly is how brands (and therefore their advisors) work with the technology players to develop natural integration, and therefore show their worth.