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Consumers have become obsessed with smart devices and the world of artificial intelligence. And how can we blame them? Smart devices make lives easier, effortlessly recording grocery lists, syncing with tv audio and helping us control our homes.
Amazon released the first home smart speaker, known as the Amazon Echo with the Alexa voice assistant, in November of 2014. There have since been multiple variations on the Amazon product to accommodate for varying budgets. Amazon’s product features are branded as “skills.”
The Google Home with Google Assistant, a competitor product, followed suit three years later, with a release date of November 2017. Google brands their product features as “apps.”
So how do the Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant differ in marketing and features, and which smart device is best for your marketing objectives?
Marketing with Amazon Alexa
The Amazon Alexa has a long list of skills including music, entertainment, news, Q&As, calling and shopping, so there’s a broad opportunity for brands to craft an app to market to Amazon Alexa users. It’s important to note that Alexa skills are not to be marketed to children under 13 years old due to Amazon’s policy.
Amazon has extensive brand guidelines to help businesses market their brand, including specific details on where and how to include a logo within promotional materials. Amazon reminds app developers to consider voice commands, the mute button, touch commands and more when branding a product or service on this home smart speaker.
Alexa already has more than 24,000 skills, many of which are brands that have marketed their products or services to the device. Let’s take a look at some brands that market on Alexa to reach an audience of 26.9 million Americans:
- The American Heart Association — This app provides users with CPR instructions and helps users identify the warning signs of a stroke or heart attack.
- Lincoln Way — Lincoln allows Alexa users to control their Lincoln Connect compatible vehicle(s) with the Alexa Voice service. This Alexa skill can start and stop the user’s vehicle, and lock and unlock the user’s vehicle. She can even report on gas level, tirepressure, odometer reading and more.
- Tide: Stain Remover — The Tide Stain Remover skill is the go-to for getting out stains. Instead of calling the parents, users can simply ask Alexa, “How do I get marinara out of my shorts?” With the help of the Tide skill, Alexa will give users step-by-step instructions for cleaning with a Tide product. The skill will even offer to text users the instructions for safe keeping.
- Zyrtec AllergyCast — With Alexa’s Zyrtec skill, users can ask for the pollen count and keep track of allergies by recording how they feel each day to identify which allergens make them feel under the weather.
- Heads Up — Users can even play the Heads Up game with Alexa. (Way to go, Ellen DeGeneres, owner and creator of Heads Up.) She’ll give users clues to guess what’s on the card with free decks like superstars, blockbuster movies and more.
Marketing with Google Assistant
The Google Assistant has many apps comparable to Alexa’s skills, consisting of music, audio, smart home, tasks, fun, games, news, publishing, shopping and more.
Google allows businesses to craft apps for Google Home and Mini with audiences including kids and adults.
Just like with Alexa, developers for Google Assistant need to keep the nature of the smart device in mind, remembering things like microphones, mute buttons, touch commands, voice commands and more.
With a three year delay in comparison to the Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant only has 1,800 skills, though that’s hardly a number to scoff at. Check out a few of the brands who market on Google Home:
- Domino’s —Google Home links to the user’s Domino’s profile, allowing for the placement and tracking of pizza orders. Users can even place their “Easy Order,” a saved favorite order, for a faster process. Tracking an order allows users to keep updated with their pizza status. From the oven to the car to the user’s home, Google Assistant makes it easy to order and track a Domino’s pizza.
- YouTubeTV — Google Home lets users completely control their YouTube tv streaming service with voice commands. The commands are fairly straight-forward: to pause a show, simply say, “Okay, Google, pause.” Users can even use the Google Home to save shows to their libraries for later viewing.
- Uber — Users can order a car or check to see how far away their UberX driver is. When surge pricing is in effect, a user will be notified before confirming pickup.
- Disney — Unlike the Amazon Alexa, Google Home accepts businesses who market their products to children. With the Disney app for Google Home, children can play a number of games like Belle’s Castle Adventure, Mickey Mouse Adventure or Star Wars Trivia Challenge. Simply say, “Okay, Google, play Belle’s Castle Adventure.”
- L’Occitane en Provence — Because you can easily shop with Google Home, L’Occitane en Provence created their app so you can order lotions, hand oils and other products with the help of Google Assistant.
So Which Smart Device Should Your Brand Market On?
Amazon’s products range from $49 to $229, and Google’s products range from $49 to $149, so both brands are relatively affordable. While Amazon products have more skills, Google products are giving Alexa a run for its money. The Amazon Alexa delivers more complex solutions, while the Google Assistant provides more comprehensive responses.
Simply put, Amazon Alexa is to PC as the Google Assistant is to Mac. If you’re looking for a nicer user experience delivered to your consumers, you might consider marketing on the Google Home product, but if you’re more interested in capability, market on the Amazon Echo.
With one in six American homes owning a smart speaker, that means almost 39 million of us use either the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant regularly. Of the 16% of Americans who use these devices, 11% own Amazon Alexa products and 4% own Google Assistant products (1% classified as “other”), according to TechCrunch.com.
Both skew toward younger audiences.
That being said, if some of your consumers have one of these products, it’s likely other consumers in your audience have the other smart speaker. Ultimately, it’s worth marketing on both of these smart speakers.