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Voice Search Is Here — But Ad Formats Will Need To Evolve

'As search publishers ramp-up voice search and results, there will be a period of testing for the right ad formats within voice content,' says Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer at Amobee. 'It will likely be equivalent to what we experienced with web search.'

With an estimated 50 percent of searches to be made via voice by 2020, marketers need to develop a comprehensive voice strategy today — but the future of paid placements and ads within voice content remain a subject of much curiosity and speculation.

In a conversation during Cannes Lions, Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer at ‘omnichannel’ DSP Amobee shared his thoughts on the future of voice ads — and the role played by AI in general when it comes to improving brand-to-consumer communications.

“Brands should be careful about outsourcing their core customer communications to an algorithm,” Smolin said. “But using algorithms to better inform the customer communication experts is a great strategy and one we see clients embracing more and more.

GeoMarketing: Let’s talk about two major trends that are shaping the conversation at events like Cannes Lions this year: The prominence of voice search and the rise of AI. How does this impact your work at Amobee?

Philip Smolin: Search is a native ad format, and voice search is no different. As search publishers ramp-up voice search and results, there will be a period of testing for the right ad formats within voice content. It will likely be equivalent to what we experienced with web search, which started with graphic banner ads and evolved over multiple years to text ads, ranked on an eCPM basis.

Most of the technology for voice search is already in place, but the key is getting a sufficient diversity of brands and voice creatives in place, so the experience can be tailored and highly relevant for the consumer.

We’re in early-stages for AI, and while much of what’s being discussed in the industry is traditional machine learning or deep learning, it will have a transformative effect. Some of the most important applications of AI will revolve around helping marketers do their job smarter, better and faster. But while these tools are highly effective for automating mathematical analyses such as media performance optimization, they may prove harder to scale for more creative-based functions such as messaging, creative/content design and consumer interactions.

Brands should be careful about outsourcing their core customer communications to an algorithm; but using algorithms to better inform the customer communication experts is a great strategy and one we see clients embracing more and more.

What are the other important trends you’ve observed at Cannes Lions this year — especially as they relate to the technologies above?

The future of creative achievement will be more dependent on data informing the strategy, insights and planning than ever before — particularly in today’s highly fragmented media landscape. There is such a diversity of digital devices and channels that utilizing data and technology to personalize the message is a must-have. Delivering experiences to niche audiences that can rise above all of the noise and clutter will become so much more important for driving meaningful KPIs.

Technology has the ability to provide insights which inform the creativity celebrated at Cannes. And with the recent adoption of GDPR, it’s clear we now live in a consumer-first world, which is a really good thing for the industry. It obligates marketers and agencies to unlock the use technology and data to embrace, enrich and respect the consumer.

Amobee recently partnered with ownerIQ. What is the purpose behind this integration, and what will it allow Amobee to offer going forward?

Amobee became the first DSP to directly integrate with ownerIQ, allowing our customers to access ownerIQ’s unmodeled retail and brand-specific second-party data. Prior to this partnership, direct access to audiences from retailers and brands could only be done through ownerIQ’s platform, CoEx. Amobee’s access to ownerIQ’s second-party data adds more than 200 integrated technology, data and inventory partners to our ecosystem, providing direct and immediate access to ownerIQ’s Active Shopper and Second-Party Connect data products.

We’re able to work directly with ownerIQ to proactively present data from more than 600 brands and retailers to clients, with faster access to permissioned audiences.

Going forward, the integration with ecommerce purchase data from endemic brands and retailers allows quicker scaling and larger audiences, giving Amobee customers rich, transparent data to drive more robust advertising solutions.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.