Special for Marketers! Here’s what people say about their voice-activated speakers


Google’s Sarah Kleinberg writes “While getting to know their voice-activated devices, people are forging a new relationship with technology and new expectations when it comes to brand experiences.”

The survey of just under 2,000 individuals found that the time people spend using their smart speaker replaces time spent with other devices including the radio, smartphone, TV, tablet, computer, and publications like magazines. Over half of respondents also said they use smart speakers even more after the first month of owning one. Around 66 percent of users said they use their speaker to entertain friends and family, mostly to play music but also to ask general questions and check the weather.

To get deeper understanding Google made some thorough in-home investigations and found out that people are so into devices and they are not only learning how to use devices they are subconsciously integrating them into their lives and daily routines.

A more natural relationship

As more and more people are integrating the new technologies into their lives and homes, many expect a more seamless and efficient experience.

Here’s what people say:

“Voice is a more natural way of interacting than typing and using your thumbs,” one person told Google.

…But it goes beyond “please” and “thank you.” “My kids have a dialogue with our [voice-activated speaker] and even say ‘sorry’ to her,” one person said.

“I’d call it an ‘e-lative,’ like an electronic relative,” said another.

In the moment

People have also noticed that being able to talk to their voice-activated speaker doesn’t pull them out of the moment.

Here what people say!

“It’s a good option for moving away from screen time. A different way to get information and not be glued to a screen,” one person told Google.

“It becomes more interactive and it’s less of you pulling out your phone. You don’t have to pull away from your conversation. It’s not me looking it up, ignoring everything else being said. It’s like we’re all kind of here,” another person told Google.

The daily routine

We all know that TIME IS GOLD!

And now we see people drown to voice-activated speakers the devices allow them to get many of those things done in a shorter amount of time.

“I can get my news while I’m doing something in the morning,” one person told Google. “You can get sports updates while you’re doing something else. It gives me more time or saves me time.”

Another person told Google that the “first thing” he does when he wakes up is say “turn on morning,” which “opens the blinds, turns on NPR, and turns on the lights.”

“It becomes a device that isn’t a device anymore,” said yet another. “It’s an entity in your life that’s always behind the scenes for things you need. It hasn’t let me down.”

A personal shopper

Of course, obtaining the things one needs, requires shopping. And nowadays the majority of people are doing that through their devices.

Here’s what people say!

In fact, one respondent said the ability to purchase things made it feel more like an actual assistant. “I went from asking it questions to now it’s sending me actual products. Way more involved, way more real,” he said.

It is great to hear that many of the active users have some suggestions for brands and are not shy about their expectations.

“It should be able to predict what I’d want and help me execute it. Like, ‘Hey! It’s taco Tuesday, your basket is ready with all the ingredients,” said one.

“If I’m asking the device for concert tickets, that’s an opportunity for it to say ‘Ticketmaster has tickets,’” said another.

In other words, consumers are open to brand messaging on their devices as long as it feels native to the experience. Brands, of course, will have to proceed with the usual caution.

“There’s a line between evasiveness and pervasiveness,” said one respondent. How not to cross the line? It “has to be useful.”

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