Amazon is inviting top brands to develop advertising inside its music service, Amazon Music, audio spots that would play through Amazon Echo devices, including those with displays. While Amazon does not allow advertising through Alexa, aside from certain areas including live radio and streaming music services like Pandora, for example, these spots would fit inside these guidelines.
The report comes via a story from Ad Age which obtained advertising pitch materials that explain to brands how to design their spots for the new beta launch. There are no dates as to when the spots would air — nor any indication that the spots have started to play. Details on whether the spots would be opt in — or opt out — is also not known.
GearBrain reached out to Amazon, which did not comment.
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Advertising has been talked about, in the past, inside the Alexa space. A company called VoiceLabs had plans to launch sponsored ads in 2017 inside the voice environment, tied to Alexa Skills. VoiceLabs shut down in 2018, with a shift towards building voice shopping ads, and then was bought by Headspace later that year.
Then, there's technology called sonification, which debuted at CES 2019 from a British artificial intelligence firm Audio Analytic, which wants to have smart assistants, like Alexa, be able to listen to its surrounding, and respond to a sound of a Pringles can opening for example — rewarding customers with loyalty points.
Beta tests are reportedly free
In this new Amazon beta, the advertising audio spots in Amazon Music are said to be free for brands which included Colgate, L'Oréal and Lululemon, according to an anonymous advertising agency executive that Ad Age spoke to for the story. The spots would "run within exclusive Amazon audio inventory on Alexa," according to the materials.
Amazon is also promising more than one million audio impressions through the ads, and would give brands reports back on the spots based on how many people were reached and heard the placements.
Many of Amazon Echo's smart speakers are audio-only devices including the Echo and Echo Dot, where Amazon Music can easily play. But the company also has products powered by Alexa with screens including the Echo Show. Amazon is telling brands that they can include a "companion image" with their spots on devices with screens, but that they would not be interactive — in other words, Echo Show users couldn't click on them to take them to another web site, for example.
Ads: short and family-friendly
The advertising spots are meant to be short — 15 or 30 seconds in length — and Amazon emphasized in the materials it sent to brands that the content has to be for a "general audience."
That direction is key as Amazon Alexa devices — in delivering audio — can be heard through a living space. The sound is broadcast, not heard through headsets such as a smartphone or even a TV. For people who live with roommates or with family members, like young children, audio ads could potentially be heard by them as well.
Amazon gave some direction on this as well, telling brands "…not to include content that is violent, threatening, suggestive or provocative," it wrote in the materials.