Where Brands Fit In Voice-Activated Assistants

This marks the year of conversation commerce and how brands can now interact with consumers in more personalized ways, including messaging apps, chat apps and voice technology.

Instead of ordering goods or services on websites or by phone, consumers can now do so within apps and social media channels. As consumer behavior shifts to these new channels of interaction, and time spent on social media and messaging apps continues to rise, it is increasingly important for brands to meet consumers where they are.

This is where voice-activated assistants come into the picture. Google says 20% of its searches are made with voice search. Given this statistic, it is no surprise that top players, including Amazon and Google, have created their own powerful voice recognition devices. These always-listening, wireless speakers serve a wide variety of functions including setting alarms, playing audio books and music, providing news and weather on demand and ordering food and/or services according to the user’s instructions.

With this new medium comes opportunities for brands to interact with consumers in unique ways, engaging in conversational commerce and providing convenience. Although opportunities on these devices are still on a selective basis, some brands have begun testing partnerships.

On the Amazon Echo, users can pay their Capital One credit card bill, order a ride from Uber, or order a pizza from Domino’s. On Google Home, users can find out which movies are playing nearby and purchase tickets. Eventually, Google Home will also be able to order food, cars, flowers, and other products.

There are also creative and unique ways for brands to join the fun and think outside the traditional advertising box. The possibilities are exciting, and device-specific voice-activated search could potentially mimic paid search results typically seen on Google or Amazon.


  • Playing music is a highly used feature of voice-activated assistants. With Spotify and Amazon Echo integrating, playing music on Spotify is now a simple voice command for users. Brands can become a part of the music experience by sponsoring playlists within the app. This non-intrusive advertising will get the brand name in front of the consumer in a native format.
  • With the enormous volume of shopper data that companies such as Amazon and Google already have, sponsored recommendations could be a huge profit driver for marketers, with endless possibilities. Imagine consumers asking a question about cooking or the weather, and receiving their answers along with a sponsored recommendation. What happens all the time on the internet could also happen as conversational commerce.
    • “Alexa, how do you make lasagna?” Alexa recites a recipe sponsored by Barilla pasta.
    • “Okay Google, what’s the weather like outside right now?” The response is sponsored by Michelin, explaining the importance of driving safely in a snowstorm on the right tires.
    • Currently on Alexa, users are able to set reminders to restock essentials. I imagine that in the future, in conjunction with Amazon Dash, brands will have the ability to take the lead and set purchase reminders proactively on behalf of users.

The future of how brands and consumers can talk to each other is exciting; these examples are just the beginning of the tremendous potential of voice activation. 

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