Hey Google—How Can Marketers Use Smart Speakers?

Smart speakers are well on their way to becoming a standard fixture in the modern American home. Sales of these devices grew 70% in 2019, which means approximately 200 million smart devices are in homes and businesses all over the world. And if it’s hard to visualize those stats, just think about how even the youngest members of many households know the commands “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Google!”

Unexpectedly, smart speakers have also become more crucial during this unique time in history when consumers are staying at home. Not only are they keeping busy with media like podcasts and music, but they’re also relying more heavily on delivery services and ordering—all made much easier with smart speakers.

Though smart speakers have been on the rise even before this year’s changes to the marketplace, there hasn’t been a heavy focus on marketing through these smart devices. But brands now have the opportunity to tap into this widely used space and reach their audiences where they are.

Use Ads to Point Consumers to Smart Speaker Connectivity

Subscription and Reorder Services

Walmart, Amazon and many other companies have shifted to subscription services for ordering based on consumers’ steady use of household staples—and these services are even more crucial as consumers need to stay at home. Because they can add items to their grocery lists through smart speakers, consumers appreciate knowing that a company’s ordering capabilities include this method.

Brands can convey an understanding of their audiences’ needs by including the option to order via a smart speaker in their messaging and advertising. With this change, audiences prone to using smart devices will associate your brand with smart speaker readiness.

Reservations

If you run a business or provide a service that dedicates ample time and resources to scheduling and booking, rethink how smart speaker connectivity can save you time and money. You’ll increase the ease with which your customers can make appointments, and by pointing customers to that channel in your marketing messaging you’ll enjoy a return on your investment in setting up smart speaker connectivity. You can also update your customers on changes to in-person meetings and digital appointments through this connectivity and messaging surrounding it.

Create Content for Smart Speakers

Smart speakers also offer the opportunity to create content specifically for your brand’s fans that exists only for that medium. Because they’re interactive at the core, smart speakers can be a new way for brands to interact with their product or service. They also have a “choose your own adventure” element to their interactive format. Just like users can choose a link to follow from a list after asking a smart speaker to perform a search, brands could create content that allows users to explore the aspects of their brand that interest them most.

For example, your brand could create an interactive guide to your industry that was navigable via smart speaker. Smart speaker technology is great for gaming, so your brand could tap into a question-and-answer format to convey information. Interactive experiences led by the user offer an innovative approach to marketing your product—one that will stand out from the crowd.

Refine Local Search & SEO Strategy

Consumers usually opt for the keyword (and maybe a modifier or two) when submitting a question on a search engine. However, they tend to use a more conversational approach when they ask smart speakers a question. These queries sound like they are speaking with another human.

Imagine someone needs something from a convenience store. They’ll take out their smartphone and search for something like “Walgreens hours.” But if they were near a smart speaker, their vocalized query would sound more like “What time does Walgreens close on Sunday?”

Because voice searches generally fall into more specific categories, brands have a great opportunity to tweak their SEO strategy to capture local searches conducted by their audience in a certain area through smart speakers. Through these adjustments, a business can put itself in position to appear in the first listed results for specific voice searches.

Adapting to a Growing Channel

With the increasing popularity and rising sales of smart speakers and devices, it’s only a matter of time before brands will lean into this largely untapped marketing channel and related channels. For now it doesn’t seem to be a priority for many large brands, but it won’t be long before we start seeing creative and inventive campaigns run though voice-enabled devices—especially with increasing dependence on the services they connect their users to.

Some brands have already come together to do just that. For example, Google partnered with Spotify to give away free Google Home Minis. Spotify users then began streaming music on their Google Home Minis, which means brands might find success by placing messages on Spotify since there is a known audience presence there.

Consider how your audience uses smart devices now and how they will use them in the future. How can you meet them where they are with a message about your brand? Is it time to review your SEO strategy? Can you revisit how your audiences consume content—and place a message where they are? The marketing landscape is ever changing, and it’s exciting to lead your industry with a new place to share your brand’s story.

At GS&F, we’ve always got on finger on the pulse of new media and how consumers respond. Let’s get in touch to chat about how you can get your message to your audience!

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