"OK Google, I'm Hungry"

One of the hottest new tech items to hit the market is home assistants. These digital voice assistants, which were among the most popular items for the 2016 holiday season, are essentially speakers in your home that can perform tasks such as playing music, basic searching, and can even control the lights in your house by responding to specific commands. The two home assistants that have taken off as category leaders are Amazon Echo, which answers to ‘Alexa’, and Google Home, which answers to ‘Ok Google.’ In order to use these devices, you simply have to be in the room with them, say the prompt, and then the command.

Since these devices are developed by two internet powerhouses, one an e-commerce giant and the other a go-to for search, the devices specialize in different areas.  Even though the technology has not been officially opened to advertisers, many users thought they heard an ad for the live action film Beauty and the Beast in their daily summaries on Google Home. Google stated that it was not in fact an ad, but simply part of the “My Day” feature that delivers helpful information on a daily basis.  However, Google removed the message by the end of the day.

Although the devices are not yet officially open to marketers, there are still ways that brands can tap into this new technology. One way brands can get involved and create a beneficial user experience is adding a Google home function to their mobile app. Both Domino's and Pizza Hut, companies that encourage their customers to interact with technology, have added this functionality.  Both companies have set up voice ordering through Amazon Echo and Google Home. The big limitation with home assistant technology is that the user has to have certain phrases memorized. For instance, once Google Home is set up, the only phrase that will trigger a new pizza order at Dominos is “OK Google, talk to Domino's.”

As these devices become more popular and the technology develops, there will hopefully be more opportunities for marketers to to advertise on these devices. Whether or not they open up the software for voice advertising, there is the always the option to build Google Home and Amazon Echo functionality into mobile apps to reach customers on all of their devices.