Upleveling Advertising Campaigns with Digital Voice

By Matt Muldoon, President, North America, ReadSpeaker

As advertisers know, today’s consumers expect instant gratification. From two-day shipping on ecommerce purchases to same-day grocery delivery, consumers want their ordered goods immediately. That’s why the rapid rise of voice technology makes sense—from asking a Nest device to adjust the temperature in their home to telling Alexa to add items to a shopping list, speaking to a device and having their needs met instantaneously delivers that instant gratification that consumers have come to expect.

Over the past 18 months, brands have had to adjust to everchanging consumer demands coupled with constantly shifting health guidelines. Although the pandemic helped rapidly drive voice adoption thanks to the touchless convenience it provides, advertisers have an opportunity to increase their use of the technology to create engaging campaigns that attract new customers and retain current ones. As the world moves to a voice-first format, advertisers can help their brands develop their own digital voice to stand apart from the competition and better resonate with consumers.

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Evaluating how voice technology is currently used

In the past few years, use of voice search has grown rapidly, with 71% of consumers preferring to conduct voice searches instead of typing, and 76% of smart speaker owners using their device at least once per week. With more consumers adopting voice technology, advertisers can seize this opportunity as another way to connect with key audiences.

As smart speaker ownership has increased, many brands that have invested in voice technology have done so by leveraging the built-in voice assistants in these smart speakers. While this may be a good first foray into the voice technology space, it is insufficient for engaging audiences and prospects, due to the consistent sound of an assistant’s voice. No matter the consumer prompt—a weather update, buying items from a grocery store or reading a recipe—the voice reciting information for any command or request sounds the same. As such, consumers have a difficult time distinguishing between the brand and the speaker. If the voice giving consumers the information sounds the same when checking on the delivery status of an Amazon order, or using an app to book a room at their favorite hotel, and consumers can’t tell the difference between the brand and the voice assistant, advertisers are missing out on an opportunity to gain additional brand recognition and better engage consumers.

To create truly immersive and engaging advertising campaigns and boost brand recognition, advertisers should work with an external partner to produce a branded digital voice that will not only help their brand stand out from the competition, but also foster deeper relationships with customers. With a branded digital voice, advertisers will be confident their brand will stay top of mind for consumers as voice technology continues to be adopted.

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What advertisers need to know about creating a digital voice

Every day, advertisers work to develop their brand’s distinct personality in written and visual content, and this same principle should be applied to a digital voice. Like visual branding assets, digital voices need to be recognizable, identifiable and consistent between devices and platforms. With a digital voice that can be used across various consumer touchpoints, advertisers can begin to build trust through experiential events, humanizing their brand and creating stronger customer relationships.

A successful digital voice journey must begin with advertisers doing their research to select the right voice partner. The right partner will offer the most advanced technologies available, including conversational artificial intelligence, text-to-speech and deep neural networks, as well as guarantee data privacy and quality assurance. Once a digital voice has been built, advertisers can build new engagement opportunities, such as interactive advertising campaigns, for customers and prospects that speak to them—literally.

Designing interactive advertising campaigns

With a digital voice, advertisers can design and promote interactive voice ads that can be hosted on numerous applications, such as mobile streaming services, in-car infotainment systems and smart speakers. These ads speak directly to customers and prospects and prompt them to respond with a word or phrase. Unlike other ads, which can be intrusive, these empower the listener to accept or decline to receive more information, promo codes or exclusive content. Not only are these ads less intrusive than other mediums because they invite the consumer to verbally confirm they’d like more information or are interested in next steps, they can also be more effective due to their interactive nature—the voice-based advertising market is expected to reach $19 billion by next year.

To develop the best possible interactive voice experiences, advertisers cannot work in a silo. Instead, they will need to assemble a team comprised of customer experience and customer service representatives and business leaders to ensure everyone is aligned on objectives and priorities. Interactivity and hyper-personalization will continue to drive the future of voice advertising, so advertisers should brainstorm how the technology can fold into other mediums beyond smart speakers. For example, the Wall Street Journal has voice-enabled its articles, and streaming service Peacock began leveraging voice-activated ads that asks subscribers to speak into their remote controls to gain access to exclusive offers. B2B advertisers can also use the technology to make their calls to action stronger. For example, if a prospect is listening to a company’s blog post, an ad that uses the brand’s digital voice can prompt the listener to respond if he or she is interested in pursuing next steps, such as setting up a meeting with a salesperson.

Voice technology growth is not likely to slow down any time soon. Advertisers have the opportunity to use the technology to create interactive campaigns across the mediums that matter most to their audiences and by doing so, they can separate themselves from the competition, increase customer loyalty and improve ROI.

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