Voice in 2021
Brands Presences Level Up
What We’ll See Next

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and brands alike benefit from investment in quality experiences on these scaled platforms. But smart speakers only represent a sliver of the voice spectrum.

We expect to see voice-led brand activations grow in these areas:

A Shift From Voice as a Destination to Voice as a Jump-Off Point

Even as many brands continue to invest in voice apps, we predict that a growing number of companies will start to treat voice experiences as frictionless entry-points to other platforms and modalities. As voice channels solidify and become permanent aspects of the marketing plan, social and TV will begin to include drivers both to and from voice, where voice apps are but one part of a bigger experience plan. 

Headless Voice Experiences Become Less Important

Many new voice-enabled devices being launched and purchased by consumers now include screens, be they smart displays or OTT systems like FireTV, Chromecast, or Apple TV. With multimodal and screen-augmented devices reliably driving more sticky and delightful voice interactions, we expect brands and platforms alike to lean into this modality and design their voice presences to be inclusive of visual content—not as a checkbox, but as a core design pillar. Speaker-only devices will maintain the most market share and utility for things like timers and music, but they may not be the devices through which brands really care about reaching consumers. 

Platforms Will Get More Creative Around Monetizing Voice Experiences

As voice continues to grow, so does its potential to generate money and sales, especially through third-party voice apps on mainstream platforms. For too long, brands have come up relatively empty-handed in looking at voice as a way to generate significant direct revenue, or at minimum, a way to advertise in new, creative ways. We expect mainstream voice assistants will get more aggressive in building out both monetization and advertising opportunities to sustain brand attention and investment.

More Voice Trends to Watch in 2021
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