20 million reasons why we should be talking about voice
Dominant social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are losing millions of users, thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, fake Twitter bots and celebrities publicly shaming Snapchat. As a result, Instagram is booming at a higher rate than ever, but why? The photo-sharing app has arguably the most digestible content and the least amount of sales-related posts. Yet, even Instagram is showing signs of meeting the same fate. Now, we wouldn’t for a moment suggest those networks are going anywhere, but where there’s a problem, there’s also opportunity. So, why couldn’t Vero steal their thunder? The answer is simple; it wasn’t fundamentally different enough for the millions of users actively seeking something new.
But hasn’t voice been around for years?
The short answer is yes. Podcasting has been around since before the MySpace hayday, it’s audio blogging roots even stem as a far back as the 1980’s. In some respect, podcasting is the father of all social media and content creation. So, how can it be the future? Social media gurus and thought leaders pitched voice as the next best thing before. In fact, the likes of The Drum we’re talking about it as far back as 2016. However, no one really took any notice, so why should we now?
Audio and streaming is up 76% YoY. The problem is, there still isn’t a lot of great original content to consume, which leaves a massive opportunity for those who can produce on another level. It’s here today, what are you going to do?
– Gary Vaynerchuk (CEO VaynerMedia)
Pioneering new voices
Gary Vee’s voice is heard globally as the thought-leading pioneer of social media and digital trends. However, is he talking about voice because of his significant investment in Amazon? Maybe. But the concept has legs and not many people are running with it. In our opinion this is because voice poses catastrophic, expensive change in an industry where change literally happens overnight. To provide some perspective, more than 20 million Amazon Alexa devices were sold in 2017* and that figure doesn’t take into account competitors such as Google Home and Apple HomePod. The rise of voice-controlled AI is happening and just like with every social media innovation; the earliest adopters are the ones who win.
Life after multi-screening
Currently, we live in an industry overloaded by screens. In truth, advertisers don’t really know which one you’re looking at when you’re watching TV, while doing work on your laptop and browsing social media on your phone. In fairness, most of us are in autopilot and don’t even know ourselves. So, why don’t we target another sense altogether? If everyone’s eyes are busy, why aren’t we targeting their ears? People can’t focus on reading blogs while they are cooking, cycling, driving or working. However, the vast majority of them do own a pair of headphones. Let’s face it, the ears of the people are a vast and generally untapped opportunity. As consumers lives get faster, their need for easily digestible content increases. So, why isn’t everyone jumping on it?
Voice of the UK
Gary Vee is making a lot of noise in the US, but there’s little more than a murmur in the UK. The Silicon Valley rule generally means we’re followers across the pond, but that doesn’t mean we’re off-the-pace late adopters. Voice is gathering momentum and few are doing it better than Mainly brand. Coined as the ‘new filter between the music industry and its fans’ Matt Spracklen is creating a new social movement and people are noticing.
I wanna be the human version of a ‘Spotify Playlist Recommends’. Even if that means I literally CALL you and tell you what to listen to. A voice into music and my actual voice on my podcast.” – Matt Spracklen (Founder of Mainly Music)