Dwayne Johnson

Smart Speaker Users Fine with Ads, Want The Rock and Will Smith as Voices

People are getting used to hearing ads from their smart speakers, but what they really want is for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to act as their virtual assistant. Those are a couple of the big takeaways from the Adobe Analytics Voice Report released today. Based on the responses of 1,025 participants that own digital devices, the future is looking rosy for ads and shopping with voice assistants, but there’s some innovation needed to really make smart speakers indispensable.

Ad Speak

Advertising via smart speaker is still fairly new. At the moment, only a quarter of those surveyed in Adobe’s report had ever heard an ad from their smart speaker. However, they do have an impact on purchases. Adobe reported that 39 percent of consumers said that hearing an ad on a smart speaker led to them buying what was advertised.

The ads are often the way free services offset their costs, but only 35 percent of the consumers consider it a fair trade-off. That may have more to do with a dislike for advertising in general, however. The number of people who find them less intrusive than other advertising is up 5 percent to 43 percent just since January.

Voice Shopping is About Research and Order Status

According to Adobe, there aren’t that many purchases being made via smart speakers. People are more likely to use the device to figure out what they want to buy or check on the status of something they’ve ordered than to purchase it directly by voice. While Adobe’s survey wasn’t brand-specific, Amazon’s Alexa was the runaway winner of the most common voice assistant among the participants.

In terms of what people would like to buy using their smart speakers, groceries and household goods stand out ahead of the pack. That’s not surprising, as it aligns with more than one recent Voicebot survey, as well as a report just last week from SUMO on voice commerce.

Celebrity Hosts

The baseline voices for digital assistants are designed to be pleasant, but that doesn’t mean some people wouldn’t prefer a celebrity to answer their questions. Around one-third of participants said they would prefer a celebrity voice. The Rock was the top choice by a few percent, but Will Smith wasn’t far behind. Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris Rock, and Oprah Winfrey rounded out the rest of the list. It is worth noting that although most voice assistants have a feminine or neutral voice as their default, the top five celebrity voices are all male, and mostly famous for being particularly macho and manly.

Future Listening

The report suggests the potential for an upsurge in the use of voice assistants. For Adobe, having this kind of data helps their clients figure out how to best use the medium.

“It helps brands deliver better experiences on this channel,” a spokesperson for Adobe told Voicebot in an email. “It was important for us to get a sense of what consumers were doing and how they feel, so that we can best support brands (our customers) and their efforts here.”

There’s a rapid rise in the number of households that own a smart speaker. A Voicebot survey found a 40 percent increase in households with a smart speaker in 2018. In turn, there will be more people who hear ads, buy products or otherwise interact with the devices.