“Alexa, play…”

“Not since the smartphone has any tech device been adopted as quickly as the smart speaker.”
eMarketer Forecast

Fresh data:

  • eMarketer predicts “stronger-than-expected adoption;” a 47.9% annual growth rate, from some 16.0 million now, to 76.5 million by 2020.
  • “The number of adult smart speaker users will surpass that of wearable [device] users for the first time this year.”
  • Unsurprisingly, early adopters were affluent males. “But the gap is narrowing quickly as the device gains traction among other demographic groups, particularly younger Gen X women with children.”
  • Number one? Alexa (Amazon Echo), 40.7 million people in the USA use her at least once a month. That’s 66.6% of all smart speaker users.
  • Runner-up: Google Home, predicted to hit 18 million users this year, “a distant second,” though “its share is growing.”
  • Not yet widely adopted: Apple’s pricier HomePod.

Is Alexa radio’s friend? Foe? Both! Good News/Bad News: She brings radio back in-home, where clock radios used to be in bedrooms, and kitchen counter TVs displaced AM/FM receivers. But there’s LOTS of audio competition. Amazon Prime members can ask for two million songs, on-demand, no commercials.

nuvoodoo research summary:
“This is largely brand new TSL, brought about by a combination of the novelty of these new devices and being able to listen in rooms that may not have had a radio for a long time.”
Let’s not live in denial. TV replaced radio on the kitchen counter, and smartphones are the new alarm clock. So this study — polling 3000+ 14-54s, across all PPM markets – is instructive:

  • “Respondents most likely to say ‘yes’ to a meter offer from Nielsen…are more interested and more engaged with radio and other media.”
  • “Review what your stream sounds like. With these new devices, if you’re not making the listener happy, she can ask Alexa to switch to Spotify, Pandora or Amazon (which was giving away trials of its Unlimited music service to folks who got new a new Echo during the holidays).”
Even if you don’t pay a vendor to “enable your skill,” your station is probably available on smart speakers. Try asking Alexa: “Play [your call letters] on TuneIn.” When I asked for a station that wasn’t on TuneIn, she quickly found it on iHeart, on her own, without me asking for a new search.

By enabling your skill, you can insert a sponsor’s pre-roll message, something many advertisers will find very cool.

Tip: Make the on-air promo that asks your listeners to set-your-station-up as unthreatening as possible. “Enabling a skill” is techy gibberish. Click-to-hear a real good promo one of my client stations did.


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