While Alexa has become a hit in homes around the world, Amazon is just getting started with voice-driven technology.
Back in September, they announced Amazon Echo Auto, an Alexa-powered voice activated product for your car. It offers the functionality of Alexa while you’re driving.
With the average American spending an average of 26 minutes a day commuting, the desire for increased reliance on voice and demand for convenience continues to grow. Drivers want their commute to be as stress-free as possible, so the ability to use this type of technology in the car offers them options for music, news, weather and so much more.
Here’s what marketers need to know about Echo Auto (for now).
Amazon has introduced Echo Auto at $25 in the US by invitation only (the full price will be $49). It’s reported that over one million consumers have already requested it.
Echo Auto connects into your audio system to play through the car speakers and includes an Echo Auto Dash Mount. It uses a 3.5mm aux jack or can connect over a smartphone’s existing Bluetooth setup (if available). Echo Auto is powered using a Micro USB cable which is included with purchase.
When it comes to features, Echo Auto does everything Alexa does using voice-based commands from playing music, to checking the news, to finding the nearest gas station and more. Plus, you can play Audible audiobooks, stream podcasts, make calls and set reminders.
Echo Auto also includes Alexa’s 50,000+ skills and will support Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze.
The Advertising Potential for Brands on Echo Auto
As it currently stands, brands can’t purchase ads on Alexa, but it does appear that Amazon is negotiating with consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands.
According to Recode, Amazon is looking for millions of dollars in advertising impressions and multi-month campaigns, so only time will tell when we’ll see advertising on Alexa.
Once ads roll out on Alexa, it’s safe to assume that we’ll soon see ads on Echo Auto. This offers a compelling opportunity for brands, as drivers are a captive audience. With Echo Auto, they’ll be able to do hands-free research and make decisions on the road — which is the ultimate in convenience.
While Alexa ads aren’t yet a reality, podcast ads provide a strong indicator of the potential. According to Midroll Media, a large podcast advertising network, podcast listeners are making it through about 90% of an episode, and relatively few listeners skip through the ads.
The Impact on Search
With search, Echo Auto will only serve to amplify the impact we’ve already seen of voice on search, along with the rise of “near me” searches.
For local search, the ability to search using voice while on-the-go is a game changer. If you’re looking for the closest store to buy running shoes for your teen while using Echo Auto, you’re likely going to go with the first result.
This means retailers and local businesses need to ensure they do everything they can now to optimize for “near me” type searches along with relevant variants. Keep in mind that it’s not just about telling people where to go but helping shoppers find what they need.
There’s a popular stat that says 50% of search will be voice by 2020. While the future of voice search is still a point of discussion, there’s no denying that consumers are relying more and more on voice for search. Whether the search happens by phone, a smart speaker or Amazon Echo, websites need to be fully optimized for this new era of search.
When searching by voice, people are most likely to phrase their query in the form of a question. The key is focusing on natural language search where you anticipate specific questions and then provide an answer. You can start by taking your keywords and turning them into a natural sounding question.
Time to Put the Pedal to the Metal
Seeing as it only started shipping in late 2018, it’s still in the very early days for Echo Auto, but the marketing possibilities for this voice-powered device are many.
The future of advertising on Echo Auto is unclear for now, but brands that are proactive in seizing local “near me” and natural language search will be ready for the opportunity as more consumers come to rely on voice search. Those savvy marketers will be miles ahead of the competition.
Once Amazon dips their toe into the world of Alexa advertising, marketers should continue to monitor this evolution to see what happens next. As more information becomes available, we’ll be sharing our thoughts about the product and future possibilities for your advertising strategies.
Feature Image: Unsplash / Why Kei
Image 1, 2: via Amazon
Image 3: via Midroll