Smart Speakers and Voice First Technology are opening up exciting new marketing channels and offering sports fans a brand new, frictionless way to consume audio. And it's an opportunity for sports organisations to create a new income stream (as I explained in an earlier Unofficial Partner blog post).
Google announced earlier last year that 500m people a month are using their assistant in 90 countries; and 100m devices have been sold with Alexa built in. Both companies tell us that sports fans are trying to engage with clubs via voice technology.
Fundamentally, platforms such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa can be used to deliver any type of audio content from simple FAQs on ticket sales to live commentary to podcasts. It is a technology that is growing like no other before it (with adoption rates that outstrip the tablet) and it’s changing how people consume content.
This is a far less saturated market than podcasting and whilst audiences may be smaller and less established, there will be a real opportunity to take advantage of a rapidly growing tool for delivering content. The golden egg of short-form audio is to become an established part of an audiences’ news feed, consumed on a daily basis via their Alexa device or similar.
However, a high proportion of novelty Voice Apps are enabled and then never used again after two weeks. Why? Because no one really NEEDS them. Consider what problem you are solving for your fans, or what they want. For example, if you, or a third-party partner, already generate match day coverage or commentary this could form the key part of a Voice App that allows your fanbase to keep up-to-date with matches that maybe aren't covered by the mainstream media - just by asking their Smart Speaker device. Or by creating a voice-controlled ticketing system, accessible via Alexa, Google and other Smart Speaker platforms, you could make it easier for fans to access match day events in an efficient way whilst keeping a frictionless, human-like interaction. By doing that and creating a genuine need you will keep users coming back and see a genuine ROI.
Be Human Audio is best when delivered by a human voice. Information is much easier to consume when delivered by a real voice with correct human emphasis and emotion. Recording menus and content in high-quality human-voiced audio can take a little more time but it’s worth the effort, making a huge difference in user experience. Too many Alexa Skills use her automated text to speech (TTS) to deliver content. You only have to ask Alexa for basic information to experience for yourself how hard it is to consume content via her automated delivery.
Be Concise this medium is best suited to short form audio delivered as the result of a specific request or search. Marketing expert Heidi Cohen, in her own guide to audio content, highlighted the value of short-form audio: “It is 1.6 times more likely people will listen to short-form content in the form of curated news summaries.”