What Amazon Alexa’s ‘Answer Update’ Means For Marketers

The rollout of the feature sees Amazon quietly furthering its commitment to expanding Alexa's Knowledge Graph.

Amazon has confirmed the rollout of a new feature called “Answer Update,” which is designed to notify users when Alexa learns the answer to a question it didn’t know when the user first asked — and while the update appears relatively subtle, it sees Amazon showcasing improvements in the Knowledge Graph that will quickly matter to marketers.

Previously, if Alexa didn’t know the answer to a query, the assistant would have simply declined to answer the question. Now, users can choose whether or not to turn on “Answer Updates” so they can receive additional information — and simply stay in the loop — as their assistant gets “smarter.”

“The Alexa service is getting smarter every day, and Answer Updates is just another way we’re continuing to expand Alexa’s Knowledge Graph,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.

We’ve written extensively about the import of the Knowledge Graph, whether discussing text or voice search via Google or via intelligent assistants like Alexa. So, why does this investment in the expansion of Alexa’s Knowledge Graph matter for marketers?

Well, if businesses fail to present their information accurately and comprehensively such that they show up in the Knowledge Graph, then intelligent assistants won’t be able to provide consumers — approximately 80 percent of who prefer to make a voice or text search to look up information about local businesses — with fact about their enterprise, and they risk missing out on visits and sales.

And for businesses looking to capture consumer attention in the voice realm, it’s important to note that the knowledge layer is the only thing they can control in terms of what Alexa “knows” about their business.

“The consumers are going to decide what UIs they’re going to use; we can’t control the selection. And we can’t control the respective algorithms. But the one thing you can control is the knowledge layer,” Jeff Rohrs, CMO at Yext, explained at Voice Summit. “You can make sure that [the assistant] knows the objective facts about your location. You have to be the source of truth about location, menu, hours — everything.”

As marketers update these essential facts and expand the information that is available to be pushed to these intelligent services, they’ll improve their chances at discovery — and just maybe have the chance to be part of an Answer Update for a consumer’s previously asked question.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

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