The Dilemma of Voice Commerce

Jay remembers vividly the countless nights going overboard, trying to tackle the typical first, second, and third screen problems while running a brand campaign. Those sad days are way behind him. Years later, he thought he had figured it out. He was wrong. Just today, a publisher reached out to him: "Hey Brother, how are you? I heard you are working with this technology company now. I am still in the business as well. I want to catch up with you. Let me know if you have time!" Jay knows where this is going. He felt that it would be rude for him to say no, so he did the best thing that he could think of, he replied: "Sure, send me the recent media profile, and I'll see how it could fit into my annual campaign plan."

First, second, third page, meh, nothing special. Fourth, fifth, sixth, still nothing. Then halfway through, he finds the gem: voice-activated ads. Woah, this is…exciting, for the marketing department, but not for the other departments, especially the legal one. Advertising is always exciting until the legal team steps in. As the legal team would say earlier to Jay, "We already have a massive headache from dealing with the second & third screen platforms, now you have the fourth one?!" Jay was about to make more trouble for his colleagues in the legal department.

#Voiceactivatedads are forecasted as one of the biggest #adplatforms in the coming years. Amazon's Alexa, Google's Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri are amongst the well-known. Big publishers are currently testing ads to let the end-user order items via smart devices with voice command, also known as "Voice commerce." Jay knows that it is an easy and personalized way to win a customer's heart. "It can't get better than this! But how do I make it work? If it does work, is it safe?" 

Dealing with #eCommerce platforms earlier expanded his knowledge not only from the marketing perspective but also in how to play around the strict rules. For instance, The EU e-Commerce Directives or Unfair Commercial Practices 2005, the directives which basically made to protect consumers against deception and misleading information. It provides that the consumer has to be fully informed of the essential information of the product sold to the consumer, including the product characteristics, identity, name, and address of the supplier; price; methods of payment, delivery, execution, complaint procedure; and the right of return or cancellation. As long as the above are explicitly described in the e-Commerce product page, he has nothing to worry about, but the extra effort is to persuade people to purchase the product. This is where the voice-activated ads can help. 

A simple "Alexa, find me a chocolate cake!" could lead the end-user to the sponsored store. On a larger scale, it could involve multiple screen collaboration. Nike made a great example during LA Lakers vs. Boston Celtics game on TNT. Voice activated-ads is good to trigger competition and/or innovation amongst brands/tech companies. However, the big question remains: Suppose the smart devices hear your command, do they listen to you all day? Privacy is like murder weapons in a homicide case; no one wants to touch it, but nor can they ignore it.

In the wake of AI, specifically for #voicecommand or voice-activated devices, there lies the uncertainty regarding the length of the device recording consumer's voices. It is not rocket science to know that it only takes a power button to shut off the machine and you are in control of your privacy. However, what is the point of having smart devices if you have to turn the device on or off just to ensure it does not record any private conversations? That is just pointless. The giant tech companies that own these devices should at least ensure that the principles of 'Privacy by Design' and 'Privacy by Default' are already in place. 

Jay understands with lack of regulation around the smart devices especially voice-activated ads will make it easier to play with the consumer data, therefore easier to sell the products. He just has to play by the rules. Well, the rule is yet fully established, so now he has to get more coffee and spend countless nights trying to tackle the first, second, third, and fourth screen problems for his annual campaign.


By Mokoginta

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