Amazon: Voice provides 'green field' for innovation and creativity

(L-R) Wright, Loughnane, Cutler, and the moderator JC Oliver
(L-R) Wright, Loughnane, Cutler, and the moderator JC Oliver

Amazon director of international ad sales Dan Wright believes voice technology will provide rich pickings for innovation and the creativity will be driven by developers.

Wright outlined how he does not believe creativity will come from the delivery of advertising over the emerging voice platform, but will instead come from advertiser’s developing app-like "skills".

Speaking at Dmexco, Wright said: "The creative opportunity is really in the skill development. How do we create these amazing skills that consumers are going to want to engage with?

"The innovation opportunity is just massive. You can imagine the green field for innovation and creativity."

Voice as a platform is growing at breakneck speed. Amazon’s Alexa platform has 20,000 skills in total and Wright revealed that in the last week alone there were 1,600 new skills created.

Microsoft and iProspect have released research that predicts half of all search queries by 2020 will be carried out through voice.

The research also found that already 20% of searches are carried out through voice, with the majority being carried out on smartphones rather than voice related technology such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. 

The power of voice will be the information it can provide advertisers about intent, which is often lacking from traditional search queries.

Shenda Loughnane, global chief strategy officer at iProspect, said that a traditional search query about the weather at a specific location might not provide much information on intent.

"In a voice context I’m far more likely to ask ‘is it going to rain on Thursday in Cologne?’" said Loughnane. She highlighted how this would reveal information such as the user having concerns about the weather.

"Suddenly we’ve got this unbelievable rich contextual intent that we can play with," said Loughnane. "That’s one thing we’ve been missing in targeting for a long time, we know audiences but we don’t know the the moments or context as well."

Adrian Cutler, global agency director at Microsoft, said: "When we were looking through the opening query terms I thought ‘where’ would be the lead one.

"However, it only had 14% of the volume, the ones that came up the most were ‘how’ and ‘what’ – they had 75% of the volume. It shows how people are engaging in a much more natural way."

Wright believes that when a brand is developing its voice capabilities it always keeps in mind the value it will add to the consumer experience.

He added: "Build that and then secondarily ask if you can surprise and delight with this experience."


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