New Quick Links Feature Creates One-Click Connection to Alexa Skills from Social Media Posts, Mobile Apps, and Digital Ads
Amazon is starting to connect Alexa skills with websites, digital ads, and mobile apps with the new Quick Links feature it demonstrated at the Alexa Live online conference on Wednesday. Alexa developers can embed links to their Alexa skill in their online content, theoretically garnering new voice app users by streamlining access to the Alexa skill.
Figuring out how to reach potential customers and get them to enable an Alexa skill is a perennial debate among voice app developers. Amazon is pitching Quick Links as part of a solution that brings an Alexa Skill to a potential user’s attention and making the path to the voice app as short as possible. By placing a link in a mobile app that someone is already using or a website they are already visiting, the developers cut out the need to remember to add the skill and the phrase that opens the voice app.
The link opens a browser web page where they can launch the Alexa skill either in the browser or on a smart speaker or smart display. It’s a lot like how a link in an ad or on social media can lead to a newsletter sign-up page, or a podcast subscription setup. That puts Alexa skills much more on display. Voice apps can sometimes be difficult to find when just talking to a voice assistant, it’s much easier to just click on a tweet than it is to recall the name of the skill later on.
Quick Links also enables developers to go beyond simply a vocal landing page. They can make the link start a specific task within the Alexa skill, such as checking the status of a delivery or beginning the first track of a playlist. That’s where a lot of the companies, large and small, may see a lot of potential for the feature. For instance, the Game Show Network uses Quick Links to allow people to start a trivia game on Alexa almost immediately, while those who want to open a sleep skill from Invoked Apps don’t even have to speak out loud, just click on the appropriate link on the website. And, as can be seen above, Quick Links give a direct pipeline to the Comedy Central Standup Alexa skill.
“Being able to open a skill straight from a link is a huge leap forward in our ability to market these skills,” ViacomCBS vice president of voice assistant products Mark Mezrich said in a statement. “Instead of relying on our audience to remember what they see from us on Twitter and Instagram, we can help them open our skills right from the post.”
Quick Links is currently still in beta, with only U.S. English and Spanish options at the moment, but Amazon is planning to add new language options as the feature moves to general release. With the number of high-profile brands already using Quick Links, it may well become as standard as social media buttons on a website for building a digital presence.