- Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are most optimistic about the marketing potential from Amazon Alexa than other virtual assistants, per a survey by location marketing firm Uberall shared with Mobile Marketer. Almost half (48%) of SMBs said Alexa will be most useful to marketers, ahead of Google Assistant (29%), Apple's Siri (17%) and Microsoft's Cortana (3%).
- SMBs had mixed things to say about their marketing plans for voice platforms. Only one-third (35%) of SMB marketers said they're boosting their marketing budgets for voice channels, and only 9% described the increase as significant. Another 38% of SMB marketers said they don't do any kind of marketing with voice platforms.
- SMBs would feel better about putting money into voice marketing platforms if they had better metrics and insight into ROI, Uberall's survey found. Florian Huebner, Uberall’s co-CEO, said SMBs may be waiting for voice technology to mature before committing to it. "There is also a learning curve among marketers on best practices and campaign development that is likely stalling investments," he said.
Uberall's survey of 300 marketers at SMBs shows that Amazon Alexa's popularity in U.S. households is likely having a profound effect on how marketers think about the potential for voice-powered platforms. Amazon has a 70% share of the U.S. smart-speaker market with its Echo devices that run on Alexa, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. It's notable that Alexa is more familiar to SMB marketers than Apple's Siri, which has been around for longer, although it's only available on iPhones.
With 38% of SMB marketers not doing any voice marketing, there is room for growth in the market. SMBs would boost investment in interactive voice marketing if they had better insight into campaign success and ROI (53% of respondents), more data for campaign targeting and personalization (47%) and lower barrier to entry on the technology (33%), Uberall found. Finding that technical expertise also means delegating responsibility for developing interactive content. Forty percent of SMB marketers said they should be in charge of that development, while others said a creative/content agency (28%), media-buying agency (9%), SEO agency (7%) and publisher partners (3%).
The number of voice assistants in use will jump threefold to 8 billion by 2023 from 2.5 billion at the end of last year, per a forecast from Juniper Research. Smart TV usage will rise about 121% a year, making the voice-enabled products the fastest-growing source of consumers who use virtual assistants, followed by smart speakers (41% yearly growth) and wearables (up 40%), the study said. Voice commerce will grow to more than $80 billion a year by 2023, but mostly will consist of money transfers and digital media like on-demand movies, music and TV shows — not physical goods, per Juniper.