Edison’s Analysis of Queries From Nearly 500 Voice Devices Revealed Good News for Pandora

Users listened to music for over 4 hours per week

Pandora and Edison Research analyzed queries of 15,000 Amazon Echos. Photo Illustration: Yuliya Kim; Sources: Pandora
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It might sound like an echo chamber at this point, but the rise of voice-enabled devices seems to be good news for music streaming.

To better understand how people are using their voice-activated smart speakers at home, Pandora commissioned Edison Research to analyze nearly 15,000 queries across 444 Amazon and Google devices to see how they used them. Edison Research asked participants who had owned a device for at least a month to provide a full record of a week’s worth of interactions, revealing just how important music and other audio is to how people use the smart speaker.

“A lot of marketers spend a lot of time thinking about what their visual identity is, but not a lot about what their sonic identity is,” said Susan Panico, svp of strategic solutions at Pandora.

While some of the statistics might not sound surprising, they help paint a more granular picture of how people use their devices on a weekly basis. According to Edison Research president Larry Rosin, it also shows that the use of these devices for connected homes isn’t just for the ultra-nerd.

“I was thinking that’s just for ultra techies, but it tends to be vastly more mainstream than we realized,” Rosin said.

This isn’t the first study Edison has conducted recently about the future of audio. In June, Edison and NPR release their “Smart Audio” report, which found that 7 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 own a smart speaker. The study also found that 70 percent of respondents reported listening to more audio at home than before as a result of owning a device.

Rosin said marketers seem to “under-consider” the category of audio like Pandora and others are in. He also mentioned some people’s desire to talk to their computers—like in the 2013 movie “Her,” which featured an Apple AirPod-like earpiece that was equipped with AI long before they became a reality in real life.

“Not that I am personally involved with selling it,” he said. “But I’ve always found it odd that people spend so much time with it, and advertisers, if you measure the amount of time spent versus dollars spent, those are not in appropriate proportion to each other.”

Here are some of the results:

  • 58 percent of users used their Echos for music, averaging about 4 hours and 34 minutes per week.
  • 69 percent regularly tuned into audio content.
  • 46 percent checked the weather.
  • 42 percent requested a joke, an “Easter egg” or a conversation.
  • 40 percent asked a question abut where to find a store or how to cook a recipe.
  • 29 percent plan to make a purchase.
  • Top categories for purchases include tech, household goods and beauty products.
  • One in three people already have two or more voice-enabled devices in different rooms.
  • 40 percent of device owners were 35 to 54 years old.
  • 35 percent were 18 to 34 years old.
  • 77 percent listened to music with friends and family.

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@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.