Why Brands Should Be Ready for Alexa Ads, Despite What Amazon Says

And they won’t sound like the ones you hear on the radio

Ads are reportedly coming to Alexa.
Amazon.com, Inc.

It’s soon going to become Alexa’s world that we’re just living in, complete with its own product recommendations disguised as ads.

According to a report from CNBC, Amazon is considering adding ads into Alexa and is in talks with companies like Procter & Gamble and Clorox about it.

It’s yet another wake-up call for brands that don’t have a strong voice strategy or connection with consumers, say industry experts.

Amazon’s talks with the two companies have centered on two potential ad features, according to CNBC. One is letting companies pay for higher placement around searches (for instance, asking Alexa how to clean up a spill). Another is letting certain brands get mentioned over others as you’re shopping (the company currently does this, but it’s surfaced through an algorithm). Think of it as voice-assisted conquesting.

Of course, these are all rumors, and according to an Amazon spokesperson, “There are no plans to add advertising to Alexa.” But that doesn’t mean companies are totally off the hook when it comes to thinking about it. Mark Webster, CEO and founder of Sayspring, a voice design company, thinks any company with an Amazon strategy also needs one for Alexa and voice. And if your company doesn’t have a strong relationship with its consumers, you might as well throw in the towel.

Voice shopping will become a major channel for buying commodity or brand-name products, so companies should be focusing on building the relationships customers have with your brand and the browsing and discovery experience,” Webster said.

Companies should also consider what the ad formats will be like. Greg Hedges, vice president of emerging experiences at Rain, an agency that’s worked on voice experiences for brands, believes they won’t simply sound like radio ads or readouts of banner ads. Instead, the ads will use purchase history to suggest similar products or brands.

“If an assistant is going to be the delivery mechanism, then it is going to be in that vein that the advertising is developed,” Hedges said. “It will be honed as a way of helping the consumer based on their shopping history, their skill/action/app use, their info.”

At the very least, Alexa is here to stay, and making your brand as voice friendly as possible is a necessary priority—that is if you want to remain competitive.

“Things like making sure brand and product names are easy for voice assistants to understand and say, that product descriptions are short and helpful, where products rank in voice search by keyword, or that your brand has an associated Alexa Skill or Google Action are going to become crucial in a voice-first world,” said Webster.

So keep an eye out the next time you ask Alexa for something—it could end up suggesting a product you want while simultaneously being an ad.

Recommended articles