By: Kimberly Bailey, Media Planner

My apartment is one of the growing number of homes with voice-operated assistants. I can tell Alexa to set reminders, add items to my shopping list, get a ride and even order a pizza right from my couch. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been so lazy as to use that last one a few times. Given the nature of my work, I can’t help but wonder how we’ll see these assistants’ abilities used in the future.

These devices allow brands to enter homes and engage with consumers directly in an entirely new way. They not only follow commands, but they also respond to our questions. Some brands have already tapped into this activity. Examples include the Campbell’s® Amazon Echo skill that provides step-by-step recipes or Patrón’s Bot-Tender that walks its users through the perfect cocktail.

This is unexplored terrain where the rules and ideas are still being formed. In 2017 Burger King developed a commercial specifically asking Google “What is a Whopper” to activate TV viewers’ home voice-operated assistants with a scripted response from a Wiki page. This tactic was ultimately shut down by Google, which blocked the ad functionality. Given these devices provide real-time responses, I would also expect to see changes within search campaign strategy, but time will reveal the ultimate impact.

NPR and Edison Research reported one in six Americans owned a smart speaker (voice-operated assistant) in January 2018. As we see this number continue to grow, I predict brands will begin developing even more innovative techniques for navigating this potential gold mine of direct consumer engagement. Smart speakers have the potential to change the way we carry out their day-to- day, and with that comes the potential for endless ad revenue.

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