Listen Up: Voice Ads Hold Potential for Brands - Cary Tilds-GroupM

By GroupM Archives
Cover image for  article: Listen Up: Voice Ads Hold Potential for Brands - Cary Tilds-GroupM

In 2011 I wrote an article on Huffington Post called, " The Next Step in 'Digital Lifestyle Management': Applications as Personal Assistant " in which I said brands should create and manage content to help contribute to a consumer's personal assistant lifestyle management.

Brands can do this by mapping out consumer daily task flow models to ensure the content they have to offer can integrate with the concept of a personal assistant.

The article referenced Siri, a platform that provides artificial intelligence to help consumers make appointments and set alarms on their iPhone and is an example of this new technology that will drive the digital personal assistant. The personal assistant will do things for you, get what you say, and get to know you.

This past week Nuance, announced Voice Ads, a new mobile advertising format that lets people have a two-way conversation with brand advertising.

Perhaps voice ads won't exactly create conversational experiences with brands they love. However, the more powerful notion is how voice can help mobile advertising move forward.

In mobile advertising, the big elephant in the room is the screen size (at least if we look only at the phone component to mobile advertising). Creatives hate the screen because the pallet is too small to communicate a message. Voice capability could add to the creative pallet by adding another playful or informational layer to the creative execution. With voice, screen size doesn't matter as much. The pallet expands.

Further, in mobile, applications provide access to information that helps us accomplish specific tasks that matter most to us. Voice helps to connect these applications on the phone or tablet functions. The voice command may change from "click here" to "add to my calendar", "book tickets", "remind me" or "share this with INSERT FRIEND."

The brand, in turn, will need to create an entirely new set of responses. Instead of a user flow to a web or app location as the response, the creative will need to actually respond. "Add to my calendar" may need a response like "which day and time?"

Further, social context will enhance voice capabilities. A personal assistant will learn from social connections within and between the applications, providing enhanced context and serving your needs better. Social will evolve beyond between you and your friends to between you and the technology, with context as king. With recent Facebook phone announcement and social connections being pervasive in the entire phone, voice ads should work better for the consumer, as the ads will have social context.

Brands have the ability to contribute to their current and future customer's personal lifestyle management by leveraging voice ads and functionality in the mobile devices. Brands should do this by mapping out consumer daily task flow models to ensure the content they have to offer can be voice enabled.

Cary Tilds is Chief Innovation Officer for GroupM. Cary can be reached at

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