Discover the future of audio advertising and the value of voice assistants

On 18th May The European Advertising Standards Agency (EASA) invited Say It Now and our partners A Million Ads to talk at their innovation session:


Over the past year, most of the IRL events we would usually speak at have been delivered remotely and solo. Last month though, as the lockdown began lifting in the UK, we decided to take this as an opportunity to use it as a stepping stone back to ‘the new normal’. Charlie Cadbury from Say It Now invited Silke Zetzsche to broadcast the webinar together IRL!

The event was incredibly attended from across Europe with a couple of late night attendees from Singapore and an early riser from Canada. The Q&A session ran us well over the allotted time with very engaging questions ranging from compliance, trust to creative execution.

Here’s a brief outline of what we shared including the slides.

Voice enabled devices are becoming omnipresent in our homes and throughout our lives. They began by taking some friction from our in-home engagement with objects and questions and are now able to deliver so much more.

We have seen how important interfaces have been adopted in recent history, namely the web and mobile. What can voice learn from the way these channels have been embraced and what will adoption look like?

The rapid growth of mobile was predicated on removing friction over a fixed web interface principally by making the experience portable. In doing so there were many user experience challenges that presented themselves up top of portable innovations such as touch-screen and hugely reduced screen sizes. However, many of the underlying principles of the interface remained the same with a fall back to using a web browser experience. With voice, the interface is flattened further with fewer visual guides. The maturing underlying structure of the internet with a vast array of API’s, content and capabilities are now able to find a new route to market through voice. The opportunity is to further remove friction by using voice as we can talk faster than we can tap and command of conversation is near universal.

During covid we saw an explosion in trust of voice assistants with one report stating that 50% of 18-34 year olds were using their smart speakers to find out about important news and information.  Parents were also 23% more likely to purchase more smart speakers to entertain children around the house.  These usage stats were backed up in a Comscore report showing in-home data traffic to smart speakers was up by up to 195%  towards the end of 2020.  Q1 2021 saw a 26% increase in smart speaker ownership in the UK now totalling a coverage in 42% of homes.

So, how do brands take advantage of voice and what results can we expect to see?

Say It Now has been working with Diageo since 2018 when they approached us to create a whisky tasting experience “Talisker Tasting”.  This experience allowed consumers to experience a tasting experience at home with their smart speaker.  The results have been great with the average session length measuring 7.5 mins and insight about the brand and type of content the users were engaging.  There are some significant features being worked on that will be going live later this year.

A Million Ads operate in a parallel world, working with audio advertisers to deliver dynamic creative content within an audio ad.  For example being able to change parts of the advert you hear depending on your weather, time & date, location, sequential or many other dynamic inputs.  They have been natural partners for Say It Now with Actionable Audio Ads that allow listeners to be inspired by an advert to further engage with the messaging by starting a conversation with their voice assistant.

Together Say It Now and A Million Ads gained a lot of fame earlier this year with the launch of an Actionable Audio Ad campaign for Berocca Boost [VIDEO]. This was a ‘Global Media First’ being the first time an FMCG brand had used dynamic audio advertising specifically to drive product purchase. The results, even at this nascent stage, were very encouraging, delivering 3000+ dynamic audio variants and with 23% of consumers who entered the voice experience ending up purchasing the product and 46% of users asking for more product information. In addition to the promising in-app statistics, the dynamic audio creative increased smart speaker app usage by 20% comparatively to the generic audio ad and brand favorability was up by 14%.

What’s really exciting about this use of audio campaigns is the deep analytics we are able to derive that delivers attribution between the audio media served, the engagement with the voice assistant and the eventual outcome.  At Say It Now we bring this all together in our data studio which also allows insight into the type of content being engaged with in real time.

So what next? What does the future hold?

There is a war going on to become your Voice Assistant of choice. Amazon with Alexa, Google with Google Assistant and Apple with Siri are very keen to get you using their assistant for increasingly more complex everyday tasks, taking more and more of the weight of your daily admin off your hands.

Beyond smart speakers the Amazon and Google ‘built in’ programs are making their assistants available in ever more connected devices, cars, plugs, microwaves, TV’s and more… They are spending billions of dollars nudging us to use their assistant. How will you use this powerful channel for your advantage?

View the slides below.

Audio – New Advertising Frontiers with Voice Assistants from Charles Cadbury