Audio Intelligence Summit 2023

Our CEO, Charlie Cadbury, spoke at Veritonic’s Audio Intelligence Summit, alongside Damian Scragg, General Manager at Veritonic. Charlie discussed how you can advance your consumer engagement with Actionable Audio Advertising using the example “Alexa, Open Pizza Hut.”

Please see below the transcript of the video

Damian Scragg  0:08  

Onto the next session. I’m gonna stay up there for up here for the next one because when Charlie’s finished working his magic, we’re gonna have a little chat up on the stage. So this next conversation is all about actionable audio ads in the context of a study that Say It Now did with pizza. So please welcome to the stage of Say It Now Charlie Cadbury. 

Charlie Cadbury  0:34  

so good afternoon, guys. I’m Charlie from Say It NowNow. And it’s my great pleasure to welcome Anthony from pizza. And finance. We found out yesterday in Texas, He says he’d been taken down with COVID. And so we all wish him a very speedy recovery. However, the good news is, I knew exactly what he’s gonna say. So if he was here, right now, he’d be saying how excited he’s going to be to tell us all about actionable Audio Ads, what they’ve been doing with them now. And then he’d introduce the running of the afternoon, he would say, Look, we’re going to have a look at the landscape, what’s going on with voice? What’s going on with smart speakers? What’s the behavior, we’re seeing? What are the opportunities open to all of us, then we’ll run into a case study, and then delivers some insight. And at this point, he said, Look, I’ll hand you over to Charlie. So like, I’m Charlie, Cadbury, the, the cofounders and CEO, said, now I’ve spent my life in emerging technology and at SAT. Now we’re on a mission, to make it possible to engage with every single advertising message using your voice. So let’s contextualize this, so about every 15 years, and the way that we communicate with our digital technology, the computer around us changes. So in the 70s, you had to know how to use the command line to engage with your computing. Then we invented the graphical user interface. And we worked that democratize computing so that we could all just click around and use computers. And then we put them all together, we put all the information together and that democratize information. And then we put these supercomputers into our pockets. And we can walk around the world using the digital computing and all the information around us to be quick, you know, big growth of digital, we’ve seen this and I’ve never been more excited than when Alexa launched. And voice journey started. And how’s that going? So Siri launched in about 2011. About 2011. By 2018, there were more than half a billion voice enabled devices on planet Earth. It’s anticipated, there’s gonna be more voice enabled devices than humans by the end of next year. And this is really exciting. So if we look at the the landscape, the footprint right now, we know that 90 million American households have a smart speaker. So it’s great to see technology. But what are people actually doing this? So we know that what people do with their smart speakers is Hey, or their fans, they listen to streaming audio, which is great. And they ask questions. So we took a step back, and we saw look, let’s look at the audio advertising landscape. And this is a for a work research report last year. And we all know that people spend about 30% of their media consumption time in audio, which is great, however, only attracts about 8% of advertising dollars, which is a great shame. And so if you think the people at Forbes they’re like, Look why, why is this? And it’s because there’s a kind of a lack of engaging advertising options, and attribution. And so we’re like, okay, cool. Let’s see what we can do to, to solve them to kind of close that gap. So in 2020, we launched actionable Audio Ads, all advertising that you can talk to, and we wanted to make it really super simple for people to turn their audio campaigns today into actionable audio campaigns tomorrow. So any audio campaign you’re running today can become an actionable audio campaign tomorrow, there’s zero difference in the creative you’re running, or the publishers you’re running across, or how you’re buying and placing this media. The only difference is that when you get to the end of your advertising message, you say, if you’d like to know more about this message, just say these words back to your smart speaker, he then have a delightful back and forward conversation with your voice assistants. And we collect a whole load of in the moment data that we can then present back. And within this dashboard, we can then see exactly what media has been, where the creative has been placed, across which publisher or what time of day, and then we can see when people are engaging with that when people are communicating back and forward with their smart speaker. And we can use that in the moment live data and understanding because ultimately, these campaigns very much like optimize any other digital campaign. So you could take my word for it, or we could pass over to our friend and card to pass over the ante. So we wish him well hope he gets better soon. But I’m just giving this talk in the UK a few weeks ago with one of his colleagues, Nicola keen, she’s the head of digital marketing UK in Europe. And luckily we record a bit of it so here’s here’s a minute with Nicola, please.

Nicola Keane  4:56  

We have created an ad with Say it now. And, frankly, they’ve been a lifesaver. And I’m not saying that just because we partner with them. I’m here and having this chat with you guys. We have so many internal challenges and red tape and hoops that we have to jump through that we are looking for partners to be able to solve some of these issues with us and be an extension of our team. And that’s exactly what say it now has done. So the results have been fantastic. So this is just a one week snapshot for you. But the unique thing I guess about the Sehat now proposition is that we’re able to track some of these results. So we can track everything from dwell time users, acquisition conversion, so you can get really granular about what this is delivering for your business.

Charlie Cadbury  5:41  

Thanks, Nicola. Um, so going deeper into what we were actually doing with, with pizza. So the, if you think about Pizza Hut pizza delivery, their brand challenge is you know, very, very gray kind of brands. A brand understand understanding, you know that they exist. However, they’re probably not who you’d read for when you wanted to order a pizza. And so what they want to do is create a campaign, which will give people the inspiration within the moments to then just reach out and order a pizza from them. And so they looked at them the challenge for the consumer at home, the consumers are home, they’re tired, they don’t know what to do. But you know, there’s some kind of audio playing in the background, they wanted to create a hook in order for them to then get a rally against and then have a call to action so that they can then order a pizza and convert that immediately. So then we created an audio campaign, you could talk back to specifically to deliver a option and a, an offer that got people talking straight away. We’re going to run a one minute video, we’re gonna have end to end so you can hear the audio ads, and then see what happens after that. If you want the second video, please.

Pizza Hut Video  6:50  

Just quickly if you were to have pineapple on it, I’m not doing I’m not doing this. I don’t care about your opinion, because I only care about these two. It could go on a pizza, but everything I say no.

Pizza Hut Video  7:03  

No, stop guys, stop. Me so hungry now. Just pizza

Pizza Hut Video  7:07  

delivery on game night feel like having 10 hotels on May 5, defeating the final cost, like scoring a hat trick in extra time when you’re to kneel down, say open Pizza Hut delivery on your smart Speaker Now, go. Alexa, open Pizza Hut delivery.

Pizza Hut Video  7:29  

Welcome to Pizza Hut delivery, we can send you a discount code for 30% off when you spend 30 pounds or you can hear more about how to redeem your discount. Which one would you like send discount code? Great. Can I send you a link so you can receive a discount code to your Alexa app now? Yes.

Charlie Cadbury  7:57  

So there’ll be sort of a 32nd standard 32nd ad spot played the very then it engaged with, they then got a link a clip on sent directly to their phone, and then they continue listening to the radio, we then were able to pull together within our dashboard, you know, the ability to see the great correlation between the number of impressions we were serving, and then how that was driving this behavior. And then how ultimately, that was driving people to download this coupon and then book and all of that next pizza. So it was a very limited campaign. But we can see you know how long people were spending within that voice branded experience how many people we were bringing into this experience. And how many people then went on to order the coupon what we see in these types of voice experiences, we get this idea of kind of a conversational cadence, the minute you start a conversation, you’re very, very likely to continue it to the end, right? So we see a very high conversion of people jumping into a voice experience and then converting, we also get hold of kind of halo effect from this, you know, we’ve got great industry coverage about the way the pizza or position themselves as kind of a technology first within this area. We’re now working with KFC, Starbucks and Domino’s. So if you kind of take a step back, you know, we’ve been doing an awful lot of these campaigns, we want to share a little bit about what we’re seeing around the industry. So for people like pizza, why why is this so compelling? Right, they’ve got an existing mandates to have an audio spam, but now they’re seeing more efficiency, because they can see a way to optimize in real time and make every single one of their ad dollars go further, that can link directly into fast growth for sales. And then obviously, they know this is great and great medium for brand affinity and great brands bear brand health increases. And then we look at some other research around the smart speaker industry. So this is from the smart audio report last year where they asked their respondents you know, if given the opportunity to interact with an add on smart speakers using your voice, how likely would you be able to do that and they’re likely to set a reminder that 77% of people were likely to do that. And we saw this with a massive campaign through Tescos around Christmas where people are asked to set a reminder and then come back on a weekly basis for special offers that really well, although to be asked to be sent more information like this pizza example 70% of respondents say they’re willing to do that. So this is behavior that we’re seeing in the world right now. Well, we’ve taken on our own first party data and understanding around this as well. So last year, we did a Neeraj insight research, we got a whole lot of people to put these skullcaps on their minds on their head to see what was happening within people’s mind, the hypothesis being is like, if you’re listening to a ad that you can then engage with, it’s gonna fire up different parts of your mind. And then if you actually have a conversation back and forward, it’s gonna fire up the memory parts of your mind, because conversations don’t work unless you remember where you are, right. And so you need to have that otherwise the conversations fall apart. So we did this with our partners, bow media, and xaxis. With WPP, it’s always partner, really interesting. So we saw that even if people didn’t have a smart speaker, and they didn’t engage, they had a 10% uplift of retention of that message, because this is a new type of ad, which people like, oh, there’s something interesting behind there, they remembered that message that was lifted up higher. But if they then engage with this ads, and this kind of went into their mind, it became part of their lived experience. And their retention of that message went up 30 to 30%, afterwards, which is really wonderful to see. And then what we’re seeing because we’ve got this wonderful, virtuous circle that’s happening right now on Amazon, I love them dearly, but they don’t share a huge amount of data with us. However, in in q4, last year, they publicly stated that they’re seeing a 30% year over year growth in engagement with the Alexa platform, which is good, that’s kind of a place you want to be where people are engaging more and more, we’re also seeing smart speaker listening on the up and up. And what that’s doing is kind of the brands that we’re working with, they’re like, Oh, we’re behind consumer behavior, how do we get in on this, so they’re jumping in on this. And we’re seeing so we have a content of a voice through rate, which is equivalent to a click through rate. And we saw that over the course of last year go from point one to point two, which is kind of in line with what you’d see from display. And this is kind of jumping round around and seeing this virtuous circle more advertisers come on more people are seeing this as the way that people that aren’t you know that they should be running these campaigns, I can walk right if you’re booking a audio campaign in 2003. And it’s not actionable. It’s a bit like booking a display campaign, you cannot click. We’ve been doing a whole load of other research with different parts the industry, we just launched this white paper with the radio Advertising Bureau, please feel free to go download this right now. We’ve got loads more this kind of insight, please feel free to follow me connect with me talk to me on LinkedIn, I’m relatively approachable. And I’d now like to have a conversation with you.

Damian Scragg  12:34  

Let’s have a chat or take a few. Thanks. Thank you, Charlie. That was excellent. Thank you. So we promise you a chat, which this is we promise you a fireside which isn’t half, it’s really bright as well in warn you, I think, than me. So I want to leave a few minutes at the end for questions. So I’m sure there will be some from people. But one of the things from a you mentioned in in your talk, then that there is no difference about with creative. I mean, genuinely, I mean,

Charlie Cadbury  13:03  

you’ve got to remember to put in, you know, tell people what to say to Alexa, that’s the one that’s the one kind of the human gap, you’ve got to inspire people to fire out the vocal cords and say, a particular few words, but we’ve got a lot of best practice around that, you know, you need to introduce the concept at the beginning, remind people they can communicate in the middle and then leave a kind of a compelling reason not to

Damian Scragg  13:20  

talk at the end. Got it. So and how involved do say it now get in the development of this, you know, the different words you can use, but from, from the you know, you take the normal Audio, Audio creative all the way through to the create, you know, with the skills on the back end for the client, what parts do you say that

Charlie Cadbury  13:38  

the technology we built is a it’s a really simple Creator Studio. So it makes it simple to take other audio assets, create the conversational designer and drop them in, we can do that. Or we can provide license that technology to other creators, and we’re looking for as many partners are excited about voice to work with as possible. And then we’ve got a simple Data Studio where you can drop our topics learn the principles altogether.

Damian Scragg  14:02  

And from a brand perspective, I mean, could be pizza, it could be any of the brands you’re working with now, what are the key things that they need to consider when thinking about actionable Audio Ads? I mean, it’s different but not different in some way. So what’s your advice? When Peter come to you? Or you mentioned some other Starbucks KFC? What are the key things have to think maybe slightly differently about any type of so you

Charlie Cadbury  14:23  

know, because this is a bit new, we’ve got a good understanding about how to sell this through within an organization. So you want to start with a single audio campaign that’s kind of ideally can have already planned out, which is let’s run a percentage of that inventory as an acceptable part of that campaign. So let’s put a call to action on that. So they can then have an internal view and you know, champions something to point out, go look this, we’ve tried this out and it works. And then they get most of the data actually, this is a whole lot of net new data we never had before. It’s real time and it’s really actionable. Let’s let’s get that into more of a campaign. People start with just running the SmartSpeed get inventory this way. But then, over time, you know, there’s, there’s put it into more and more of a plan.

Damian Scragg  15:07  

And when talking to brands, you know, I’ve seen the growth of what you’ve been doing over the last couple of years in terms of selling into the brands and agencies, what what are the concerns? What are the key things that you’re using to show people because it’s a huge amount of insight, which we’ll talk about in a second. But what are the key triggers that you can kind of play on to convince people to come on and try this new way of thinking about and really, because when I, when I hear an ad now on a smart speaker that doesn’t have the action, but at the end, it annoys me a little bit, because I think that’s a missed opportunity.

Charlie Cadbury  15:37  

And that makes me cry with happiness, to hear that, because there’s been a huge education piece, and I’ve been working specifically on the invoice since 2015. And, you know, really trying to package this up. So it’s as simple to implement as the hardest thing to get across. It’s actually there’s very, very little work, you know, if you’ve got someone in the studio, recording their audio ads, and you’re just getting them to put this call to action on the end, and then there’s, you know, a very short piece of the conversation element that we can get them to record at the same time dropping in and then is one wonderful flow by the same auditory flow from what you’ve heard, and then what you’re participating in.

Damian Scragg  16:12  

And what about the success metrics? Because you put some up on screen? Oh, that was I wrote down here 45.95% conversion, I’ve been lucky enough to see in your dashboard, the amount of metrics is fantastic. What are the key metrics in measuring this type of audio ad, so we

Charlie Cadbury  16:27  

optimize for different things. So for example, we’re running with the Lion King kind of selling tickets for the Lion King Show, and actually, they had like Pumbaa, you could and ask him to tell you jokes and you’d like for them, they really wanted to optimize for whatever brand experience, which is, like similar thing with Hubble and p&g, where they really wanted to keep people in the skill, which was on whiskey tasting experiences, you want to like, he really want to spend five minutes enjoying the whiskey and find out how it’s made. And so we can optimize for that. But then, you know, Domino’s and Starbucks the moment, they just want to get apps downloaded. So at that point, we’re optimizing for that golden path where you want to find out more about the Starbucks loyalty program or know you want to drive people towards that download. And that’s working really, really nicely. So depending on the campaign outcome, then you’re optimizing for slightly slightly different metrics.

Damian Scragg  17:12  

And you touched upon it when you were talking around best practices and things like that, but what what works well, what doesn’t work well, particularly also thinking if you can touch upon the sort of different categories that are more effective, I

Charlie Cadbury  17:23  

was like, you know, we’d all glad many of us are marketeers as marketers one on one like make the offer really super compelling and you’ll get more engagement right? So you know, free pizzas way more than 30% of pizzas, you know, so kind of like push as far as you can get for that but also that you know, human behavior, we want things right now, right? So this is what we find this help of center phone work really well, people either requesting callbacks to go on a cruise quite niche audience, everyone loads of waters access on that, that last year, getting people to even booking hearing tests, we had really good success with Specsavers on that side of things, or getting a coupon right now. So kind of I want to get some kind of engagement like onto my phone or like really fulfilling engagement right now. And we’ve saw that in comparison to we were working with a Unilever client selling bleach and needed idea you could like buy some discount of bleach, but it arrived tomorrow. And like, it just didn’t work as well, like the concept of like bleach tomorrow way less appealing than pizzas today. Right? And so, today, please, please, if we could do bleach today, maybe that’s what people are into. We know it’s the kind of play to play to the human psyche.

Damian Scragg  18:27  

Got it. And it wouldn’t be a conference without thinking for the future. So where’s this going from, from your perspective, as I say it now but just generally in terms of voice, the idea of a voice activated type of ad? And I think just coupled to that, if you can as well, is there anything that the Spark Spark speaker manufacturers can do to continue to help grow this?

Charlie Cadbury  18:52  

So let’s at the moment we think that Alexa lives in the box in the corner of your living room is not right. So this is embedded within the next car, you buy the next microwave, you buy the next kettle you buy, you know, we’ll have a voice assistant in it. And this is playing towards the dream for people at Amazon Google who lied, right? The future is ambient computing is this is like this is going to happen. Like if you look at sci fi. Ironman, you know, Tony Stark doesn’t get out his app. When he’s flying his suit around. He’s like talking to Jarvis. So this is clearly the easiest way to get things done. This is gonna happen. I was talking to Aaron Walker, who’s the global evangelists, Amazon smart vehicles in California last year. And she was basically saying, Look, once you choose your assistant in your home, you’re going to carry that into your car, right? So the whole idea that at the beginning, our mission is to make it possible to engage with every advertising message using your voice. It’s going to be like a hashtag that you can either engage with, you know, you can, you can go to our app, or you can just say these words into the ether and you’re engaging with the brand. That’s why it’s really, really kind of great to hear that our brands investing in their Sonic identity and knowing that this is definitely the way forward.

Damian Scragg  19:59  

Now that That makes huge amount of sense. And I was gonna go to questions. But there’s one one question I wanted to ask you. You could do some stuff with connected TV as well, you know, certainly and the combination of the two. So how does that work? Yeah, so

Charlie Cadbury  20:08  

exactly the same, same, same same format, you’ve got exactly the same call to action is going to the same skill. So let’s continue to choose pizza example is that you know, our friends. So once you created the Pizza Hut skill to get to that you just say, Alexa, open pizza delivery. Now, audio is a traffic driver. CTV is a traffic driver. And we can measure which one of these is working best. So, you know, this all plays into the vision of making every advertising message you see, able to be engaged with using your voice.

Damian Scragg  20:37  

Fantastic. Thank you. I realized I don’t think I’ve actually said Alexa, since we’ve been talking. And whenever I talk to Charlie on the phone, I never say Alexa. Otherwise, my whole house fires up and things start speaking to Alexa, Alexa. Granted, we’re up on time, but I’m sure we’ve got a couple of minutes if anybody got any questions for Charlie. Well, there we go. Straight away.

Audience Speaker 1  20:57  

Great meeting you in person, surely. long question. When business and brands talk to you, like how do you solve the problem of discoverability and retention on actionable audio ads? And what we saw here is the user can Oh, do you campaign? What about like other mediums? And like how businesses trying to like figure out how they sold the issue of discoverability? And retention? Yeah.

Charlie Cadbury  21:24  

So this was always the big problem, right? So you know, you build a brilliant Alexa skill when no one uses it. And so this is why it was so important for us when we were launching actual audio ads to build it in with traffic drivers. So we don’t want any campaigns, which don’t have immediate budget associated with them. Right. So we just had, you know, we’ve got to have a audio plan or a CTV plan. And then as long as you’ve got that media driving, then you know, you’re going to have a, a successful voice experience, and you can start to get that data to optimize towards

Audience Speaker 1  21:55  

the best way right now is to use an audio campaign to get into actionable Audio Ads, a lot of people talk about let’s tell everybody on the email list, let’s use our social media to tell people hey, we’re an Alexa and so on. But is audio campaign is the best way forward for now with the gatekeeper Alexa and so on.

Charlie Cadbury  22:16  

Yeah, it’s because you know, that’s, that’s where people are, you know, they’re there, you know, because then you can make that audience really tight. So you can say that you know, that people are going to be hearing these ads, because they’re listening on a smart speaker. As long as you make their creative, compelling and exciting to engage with, then you’ll get a good return on that.

Audience Speaker 1  22:34  

Is it like the change in the industry like Google killed the actions, Alexa is like, still there is as a marketer, like, we should focus just on Alexa for now.

Charlie Cadbury  22:45  

Which, at the moment, there’s a bit more integration if you want to get Google rolling. So we start with Alexa. And in the US and UK, that’s about 80% market share. So we start with there. And then once that’s proven, and people then come on, we do the integration with Google.

Damian Scragg  23:00  

And there was one more hand or just do the last question. Yeah. There, Mike.

Audience Speaker 2  23:13  

Thank you. Hi. My name is Debbie, or when I’m a voice actor. And my question has to do with well, when when we search for something online, suddenly we’re seeing those ads everywhere we go. Right? They follow us. Now we all know that Alexa and Siri, they’re all listening to us all the time. So my question is, when that ad for pizza comes on, is it simply random? And you know, a coincidence that those four people are talking about pizza? Or has Alexa heard, oh, they’re talking about pizza? Well, then let’s rip, let’s give them the pizza ad.

Charlie Cadbury  23:54  

Let’s say so and so we basically we give a destination points. And then we run on standard audio creative, which is then delivered and optimized by any kind of publisher or exchange, right. So it’s the publishers and exchanges who are buying your standard or their ad spots. And then they can then choose exactly where to run those. Now we can see we can show which sports are getting more and more engagement. But it’s not true to say that Alexa is listening to the behavior that you’re that’s going on in your living room. There’s like a there’s an eight second loop that’s happening. They’re just listening to the Word Alexa. And at that point, we’re in the stream. But so so the all of the ads that you if you’re happy to listen to ads on, you know, whatever kind of commercial radio station or kind of ad funded streaming service that you’ve got, that these ads will just sit in those exact spots that you’ve been listening to ads for for decades. So it’s just those bots, but right now you can get more utility and engagement from them.

Damian Scragg  24:50  

Thank you. I think we’re bang on time. Awesome. Excellent. Thanks very much, Charlie.