A lot of planning goes into designing and building Alexa skills and Google Actions. And, there may be detailed plans about the launch and how to drive initial consumer interest. However, we have seen few people give much thought to what happens next. At XAPP, we believe that Launch is Day One of your voice app lifecycle.
Some brands and agencies will tell us they are considering whether now is the right time to launch an Alexa skill. Our experience with clients ranging from the top automakers and consumer brands to retailers and media broadcasters is that having an Alexa skill now is essential to winning in the voice era. Here are eight reasons why brands, media companies, and even government agencies should launch an Alexa skill now.
More than 50 million U.S. adults are now using smart speakers and double that number are using voice assistants on smartphones. Smart speakers represent the fastest growing technology adoption cycle in history--even faster than smartphone uptake by consumers. This poses a nagging question for brands and agencies: “How should I incorporate voice into my marketing mix?”
Smart speakers are showing up everywhere. Voice usage on smartphones is rising. Voice assistants have become an important digital channel with substantial reach seemingly overnight. This has brands thinking about how to best establish a presence in voice, how the new channel will impact their omnichannel strategies and what approach their voice app strategy should take. Voice apps are the skills or actions that brands can build to engage directly with consumers through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Amazon’s Alexa is being adopted by car makers ranging from Ford and Toyota to BMW. Ford says 20 million cars will have Alexa access in 2018 and that is a good start. Those announcements show a trend, but new testing by Amazon may accelerate Alexa availability by introducing an Echo Dot model for cars.
NPR revealed in an interview with MediaPost that its streaming listening through Amazon Alexa devices grew 242% between November and February. Alexa now accounts for 13.3% of all NPR’s live streaming, up from just 3.9% in late 2017. When listening on any device triples over a 3-4 month period, every general manager and program director is going to take note.