Voice Technology in Cars: The Future of Audience Targeting

Numbers around the growth of adoption of voice technology are staggering; but there is also much cynicism about how voice can really be integrated into our daily lives and change the face of advertising. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Mark Henson, head of marketing, Primesight, explains why your car presents the next opportunity for advertisers to reach you, all thanks to voice technology.

A decade ago, it would have seemed odd speaking to a device – and if you told people it spoke back, they would have probably asked you if everything was alright. Now, it’s the norm to ask your phone for directions, to change a song, or search for the nearest pub. The likes of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are now household features assisting us inside and outside our homes in our day-to-day lives. According to Mintel, 62% of Brits are using or happy using voice-operated devices to listen to music, search, check the news, and shop. Voice technology is here and it’s here to stay.

At CES 2018, voice technology proved it will be integrating even further into our lives. Car manufacturers announced new voice assistant features. Google and Amazon are battling it out to introduce their voice assistants into our cars; which means the days of tapping a screen to check directions or look up info while driving will be long gone. This is unsurprising, as over 32 million people drive cars in the UK, meaning they’ll be reaching a wide audience. Instead, drivers will speak and their car will speak back. Fifty percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, according to comScore. As we become accustomed to the ease of speaking, rather than typing, consumers will change the way they interact with their surroundings. It’s no wonder big names already want in; this is something that will really change our journeys.

Voice is all about quick results. We can speak 150 words per minute, compared to typing on a device at 40 words per minute. With time being the most precious of resources, there is a significant incentive to change how we search.

Driving whilst interacting with something on a screen is dangerous, but listening to music or the radio goes hand-in-hand with the in-car experience. With the introduction of voice search, we’ll soon be asking our cars to change the radio station or play our favourite playlist. For advertisers using these channels, there’s an opportunity to encourage interaction or instant results after hearing an ad. For example, an ad about a new album of their favourite artist might mean the listener downloads it straight away to play in the car, something that isn’t possible without voice technology.

The same goes for everything we see outside of the car. With over 68% of the UK commuting to work by car, voice has the ability to now activate this hitherto 'dead time'. Seventy-one percent of us often look at the messages on roadside billboards, which creates huge opportunity for brands. Drivers will be able to act upon the adverts they see, there and then. A driver might pass a billboard for a film they want to see, triggering them to book tickets with their in-car assistant. Perhaps they drive by a Coke ad that reminds the driver to add this to the shopping list, or there’s benefit in even passing a restaurant or shop, as drivers could bookmark a location that they want to come back to.

Voice technology is something that will be hugely important to brands, agencies, and advertisers. Beyond its current opportunities, they should start to think about its potential in the car as the experience of an everyday journey begins to change. As human behaviour changes how we search, our entire journey will be transformed completely, changing how brands can interact with consumers. This is only the beginning for the future of cars and one that will I look forward to seeing more of.