XAPPmedia Passes 1,000 Paid Voice Apps on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
XAPPmedia announced this morning that the company has hit (and passed) the 1,000-mark for paid voice app launches on its One Voice AITM platform. The platform is used to publish voice apps for consumer brands and media companies simultaneously to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The company reached the milestone in about 18 months, beginning 2017 with only 3 live voice apps. XAPPmedia’s previous announcement in October, showed the company having reached 450 live Alexa skills and Google Assistant apps. It looks like the company is adding roughly 400-500 new voice apps every nine months.
XAPP provided some statistics about the voice apps published on the One Voice AI platform:
- Total Voice App Count Managed by XAPPmedia as of May 31, 2018: 1,012
- Total Voice Assistant Breakdown: Alexa 95%; Google Assistant 5%
- Total Voice Apps Launched Primarily for Markets Outside the U.S.: 5%
- Largest Voice App Count for a Single Customer: 386 Cumulus Media / Westwood One
- Total user sessions: more than 8 million
The details suggest an average of 7,900 user sessions per voice app. However, there are undoubtedly some with many more than that and others with many less. XAPPmedia confirmed that some of their Alexa skills have already generated hundreds of thousands of sessions. The company also said an average number of sessions is not a great gauge of usage because some voice apps were launched recently and still haven’t built their audience.
More Demand, More Skills, More Agencies
XAPPmedia’s CEO and cofounder, Pat Higbie, stated that “Voice AI gives marketers the ability to connect directly with consumers and savvy brands are realizing the importance of moving quickly to provide this new level of convenience and discovery.” Because of this, XAPP is not the only company working on Alexa skills and Google Assistant Actions. Amazon lists 37 other agencies on Alexa’s US agency listing, including AKQA, RAIN, and Vayner Media, to name a few. A quick search of the Alexa Skills store shows that most agencies have only have a handful of skills launched. Actions on Google has a similar list of agencies, with 20 agencies highlighted.
This agency make-up reflects the smart speaker market share breakdown. The growth in smart speakers has been high, and as of May 2018, Amazon Echo stands at 61.9% of the market share to Google Home’s 26.9% in the U.S., which made up 45% of global smart speaker sales in Q1 of 2018. Canalys reported Google Home to be on the rise, outselling the Amazon Echo globally in Q1 2018. The voice assistant breakdown for XAPP’s One Voice AI is 95% to 5%, Alexa to Google. This reflects the breakdown of Alexa skills to Google Assistant apps, of which Alexa makes up more than 90% with around 35,000 skills in the United States.
More Platform than Agency
Mr. Higbie said in an email interview that XAPPmedia isn’t really an agency and is instead of technology platform. He commented, “Amazon and Google list XAPPmedia as an agency because we have launched so many voice apps for their voice assistants. However, XAPP is better characterized as a Voice AI technology platform that allows us to efficiently create, publish and manage voice apps simultaneously across multiple assistants. The managed service offers added value after the Alexa skill and Google Assistant Action is published so the content owners don’t have to worry about it. XAPP has many agencies as customers in addition to brands and media companies that have come to us directly. So, we feel that XAPP augments agencies but are also honored that Amazon, Google and Microsoft have publicly recognized our work.”
One company that has made a big commitment to voice and radio giant Cumulus Media. Cumulus and Westwood One have launched over 300 Alexa skills for radio stations and podcasts and have several dozen podcasts on Google Assistant. “Smart speakers are an important channel to reach radio listeners and we are already seeing strong uptake for our Alexa skills such as Westwood One Sports and Cumulus radio stations. Our team expects to see a lot more growth of smart speaker listening and XAPP is clearly playing an important role for Westwood One, Cumulus and the entire industry,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP Cumulus Media / President Westwood One.
Evidence of Corporate Marketing Commitment to Voice
While 1,000 voice apps is a great milestone for XAPPmedia, this may also serve as a gauge around voice assistant adoption among companies. We know that a lot of consumers have purchased smart speakers, but there was always a question about whether content suppliers such as media and branded product companies would be interested in voice assistants as a channel to reach prospective customers. It appears they are following the consumer and making a commitment to voice assistants as part of their marketing efforts.