North American Marketers See Most Potential in Alexa Over Google Assistant by a Wide Margin
Marketers in the U.S. and Canada say Amazon Alexa has the most potential among voice assistants both in the near-term and over the long-run according to a recent survey by Voicebot.ai and Voices.com. The State of Voice Assistants as a Marketing Channel report includes 20 charts and 30 pages of analysis and marketer sentiment towards the voice assistants as marketing tools is a key finding.Download Report
In the near-term Alexa beats out Google Assistant by 36 points, with Apple about half as critical at just over 13%. Over the long-run, Google Assistant is expected to become more important but only bumps up to 27.2% in marketer sentiment compared to 57.6% for Alexa, a gap that still exceeds 30 points. Siri is actually expected to diminish in importance over time suggesting that Apple’s tentative steps into supporting marketing-related efforts through Shortcuts and domain expansion have not encouraged marketers about the platform’s long-term prospects with consumers. Both Bixby and Cortana are expected to grow in importance, but few marketers today expect them to leapfrog Alexa or Google Assistant.
Market Share, Roadmap, and Other Factors to Consider
Jeff McMahon, CEO of Voicify, believes this bias toward Alexa is largely due to the company’s early lead in smart speaker sales but suggests smartphones will soon be viewed as critical. “Clearly Alexa has built a dominant lead among voice assistants. They have the largest number of devices in the market. This research suggests that marketers recognize that Amazon currently has a dominant position and marketers want to take advantage of that to reach people in their homes. The same is true of Google, but to a lesser extent since they have fewer devices deployed,” said McMahon. He added, “One thing marketers should consider in terms of the potential of these platforms in the long-run is that Google, Siri, and Bixby are all available on smartphones, which far outnumber smart speakers. As those platforms and ecosystems improve and evolve they will take market share from Amazon.”
There could be other reasons beyond installed base according to Joseph Graiff, vice president of creative engineering at FCB Health. “Even as a Google user I get frustrated that Google never seems to have a ‘true’ roadmap with their products. They will throw ideas against the wall to see what sticks, and even if it does stick they will send it to the ‘Google graveyard.’ Look at their messaging platform(s) Hangouts, Allo, and Messages. Their products seem to be a bit fragmented. So, as a creative engineer that works for a marketing agency, when I’m talking with clients I think about stability and the roadmap of a platform to minimize risk. Amazon has this, where I feel Google could change their mind tomorrow,” commented Graiff.
Where is Investment Going?
Then again, it may not matter who is viewed as having the most potential if two are both deemed critical. “I understand why marketers would choose Alexa as having the most potential based on the way the question was asked but it’s a little like asking them which smartphone has the most potential – iPhone will win in a similar type of survey. But can a global brand really ignore 85% of worldwide smartphone users? In reality, both iPhone and Android are essential. Similarly, Voice AI is a two-horse race at the moment and both Alexa and Google Assistant are essential to brands for reaching and connecting with consumers,” said Pat Higbie, Co-founder and CEO of XAPPmedia.
Higbie has a point. When asked to force rank the leading consumer voice assistant for their marketing potential, the gap between Alexa and Google Assistant narrows. In fact, the gaps narrow across all assistants. This is even easier to see when you consider a forced ranking of where marketers plan to expend time and resources over the next year.
You can see on this five-point scale that Alexa still has the most commitment but many marketers intend to support multiple platforms this year. Since voice is new as a marketing platform, it is likely that marketers plan to spread their bets across voice assistants to make sure they have a presence wherever consumers eventually wind up.
Voicebot will be hosting a webinar to discuss the findings at 1:00 pm EDT on July 31st along with Voices.com CEO David Ciccarelli as the featured guest. Join us to discuss these topics in more depth.Register for Webinar