VP, Client Services at Essence
While Voice may not be a headliner theme at this year’s CES like 5G or 8K, it was present throughout the show floor and panel discussions, especially in new innovative “voice-enabling” consumer products.
Voice was a hot topic for the past few years at CES, and this year continued the focus on its capabilities for new day-to-day functions, ad formats, and content formats. Two exciting themes emerged at this year’s CES that continue to expand on the potential opportunities and future conveniences Voice will provide for consumers and, in turn, brands:
Hardware Interoperability - Voice in our Day to Day:
On the showroom floor, the future of Voice as being present in our day to day was evident in the innovations in smart homes. With more and more of our appliances being “intelligent,” Voice will be the facilitator, ensuring the components of these home ecosystems work seamlessly together and in a frictionless way for the consumer. We saw examples of this from Haier, who referenced voice in multiple components of their Smart Living Room: Google Voice-Controlled TV, At Home Mode Activated by Alexa, and AC Control with Alexa.
For brands who want to reach consumers in new ways, the increasingly connected and voice-enabled home ecosystem represents an opportunity and challenge, especially in how to take advantage of this access and how to position their brand via ads relative to consumers’ personal at-home activities.
Ad & Content Formats - the Future of Voice in Advertising:
CES is, by nature, relentlessly focused on hardware. But there was a further push this year on how that hardware is controlled, with increased attention on Voice to achieve this. Alexa and Google are clearly the leaders on this front, especially Amazon as it announced at CES that 100 million Alexa enabled devices have been sold. Given the scale Voice devices achieved, marketers were keenly focused on how to prepare their respective brands for a screenless future. This year’s CES makes it evident to marketers and brands that future content formats will increasingly have to incorporate a voice aspect.
What do these Themes from CES mean for Brands and Marketers?
The real challenge moving forward is creating bespoke content and ad creative for audio formats and finding measurement solutions, especially where programmatic ad serving does not exist in these growing and emerging voice ecosystems.