Amazon Alexa has grown and matured substantially since its launch on the original Echo in late 2014. It's gotten better at contextual conversations, picked up additional skills, and has expanded to more hardware than ever before. Now, it looks like 2018 will be the year that ads become part of the Alexa experience.
According to CNBC, multiple sources confirm that Amazon has been in talks with Procter & Gamble and Clorox about letting the companies pay Amazon a fee to promote their products over others when customers use Alexa. For example, if you tell Alexa that you want to buy some toothpaste, one possible response could be "Okay, I can look for a brand, like Colgate. What would you like?"
The idea is similar to what you often see on Google. When searching for something, the top two or three results are typically ads that a company has paid to be the top few results when users search for a certain keyword. It's easy to look past these paid results on a phone or computer, but when interacting with something that's mainly voice-based, chances are you'll go with whatever's suggested first to make the interaction as short as possible.
Along with promoting certain brands when buying products via Alexa, it's also reported that Amazon wants to integrate adds to Alexa's Skills. For example, CNBC says that asking Alexa for help to clean up a mess around the house could result in a certain brand being suggested if it paid money to have that top spot.
One spokesperson states that Amazon doesn't plan on adding advertisements to Alexa, but like it or not, it's hard to believe that this is actually the case. Alexa is booming for Amazon right now, and the company is absolutely going to monetize it in any way possible.
If/when advertisements come to Alexa, will you be inclined to get another smart speaker over one from Amazon?
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