How Can Publishers Use Voice Assistants to Succeed?

illustration of a desk with plants, a cup of coffee, and an amazon echo device

Voice Assistants Have Caught On

The Smart Speaker industry is growing fast. The first Amazon Echo devices were released in 2014. Now, nearly 90 million adults in the United States have some kind of smart speaker in their homes. They’re in movies and on TV.  Asking Alexa or Google or Siri a question has become a normal part of life for many people.  And as these voice assistants are only going to become more capable as time goes on.  

A New Way to Find Content

One of the most common uses for these devices is media consumption.  It’s incredibly easy for users to queue up their favorite songs or get a quick summary of the news on a smart speaker.  And the intelligence of these devices is also shaping the way users interact with content.  Instead of asking to play songs by specific artist, for example, users might ask to hear songs that they might like based on songs they’ve listened to in the past.  Users might also ask for playlists based on activities, such as exercising or entertaining.  

And since many of these voice assistants are integrated into online market places, such as Amazon, users may also use them to procure content to view on other devices.  For example, if a user is at work and hears about a television show that they’d like to watch, they might ask Alexa to add it to their watchlist.  Users can even purchase content directly through their voice assistants. 

“Alexa, What’s a Book I Might Like?”

What happens when a user asks a voice assistant about your newest title?  Does Alexa or Google or Siri have a summary prepared?  Can users purchase the content or add it to their wishlist?  Or is it, Sorry, I don’t know that?

The marketing potential extends far beyond simple recommendations.  For example, Penguin Random House recently released an application called Good Vibes.  The app provides users with motivational quotes from various books and authors.  Users who hear something they like can ask to learn more about the author. The application also provides Penguin Random House with a platform to inform potential readers about upcoming releases and featured books. 

Voice assistants are a powerful tool for publishers. When properly configured, they provide a quick, handsfree way for users to learn more about products or even make purchases.  These devices will only continue to grow in popularity.  Publishers can’t afford to ignore this technology. 

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