Amazon mulling ads on Alexa?

According to CNBC, Amazon is thinking of pushing ads on Alexa

The move is not unexpected – Google Home has been running ads through it’s services for a while. Amazon has for now denied it will run ads – although some content providers can include ads in their content according to strict guidelines.
But if true, the more interesting question is where will the ads be run, and how much control will each stakeholder have?

How do Ads on Alexa benefit brands?

With the amount of data and context available, ads should be hyper targeted and ad value – or atleast that is the promise. But, the evolution of web and mobile has shown us this is easier said than done. Things can go wrong. Who is responsible when ads are run for the wrong audience (e.g. running an ad aimed at an older audience when children are present in a room)? Or if the ad is run next to an news item that the brand does not want to be associated with? These concerns hold true, and the need to ensure and safeguard brands is likely to drive more and more sophisticated targeting mechanism.

How do Ads on Alexa benefit app developers and content creators?

With Amazon needing to find monetization opportunities for developers, ads may be part of the answer. This is especially relevant for developers and content creators able to build large, content oriented audiences, networks and communities.

The move is likely to have broader implications. This will also be a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to build the next generation of ad based start-ups.

How do Ads on Alexa benefit the consumer?

The news for consumer is mixed. The opportunity to easily monetize through ads may lead new and interesting apps and business models. But, conversational interfaces and voice apps are all about the experience and ads can spoil them. It will be interesting to see how much control Amazon keeps on guidelines and formats for ad units.

The move, if true, is likely to assuage some fears for brands and retailers – but this does not mean that the underlying causes behind the fears have dissipated. On the other hand, it will be interesting to watch how sophisticated Amazon’s “Ad network” is. For example, is it going to target based on phrases and keywords, likes and interests, or, experiences, personas, and lifestyles?


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