Brands have begun to leverage audio technology to reach out to their audience.

By next year, 75% of internet users in India would be a vernacular content user base, says the recently released Mobile Marketing Ecosystem Report 2020 by the Mobile Marketing Association and GroupM.

The study notes recent developments like the late-2019 launch of Amazon’s multilingual mode in Alexa for users to access the voice assistant in Hindi, as one case in point. Google Assistant already boasts of Hindi being the second-most utilised language for voice globally. “Soon, these are bound to create a level playing field for the customer to initiate voice commands in vernacular languages. As of 2017, 68% of internet users preferred digital content to be in the local language, believing that it adds to its overall credibility,” the report stated.

The study estimated that the number of smartphone users will stand in the range of 650 million to 700 million by 2023 and predicts how voice and audio will increasingly alter the way we use the mobile device.

The report notes the evolution of voice assistants text-to-speech enablers, from devices that take care of routine functions around the house and daily errands to playing a large role in brand building. “Brands have begun to leverage audio technology to reach out to their audience. As voice assistants take over a regional tone, they are available in multiple languages, we have seen the widening of the customer base and the opening up of new markets,” the study notes.

The Indian market has witnessed enormous growth in the arena of voice searches. Be it seeking out automobile specifications, or aligning in-home security features with existing mobile apps, smart devices have penetrated the lives of most consumers, urban and rural alike. Apple’s ‘Siri’ or Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’ has led to the evolution of how consumers search for information. The ‘Bolo’ app designed by Google that was launched in March 2019 with an open beta program, aids children in improving their reading skills.

According to Niraj Ruparel, National Head, Mobile and Voice, Mindshare India, “Voice technology combined with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality is all set to bring about a make-over to the marketing landscape as we know it. This will in turn have a domino effect on verticals such as OTT, Online Gaming and Virtual Reality to name a few.”

Brands like Godrej Hit, Sensodyne have already started using voice in their brand building strategies. “Since voice assistants purely work based on user intent, they have now evolved into more than mere information touchpoints. Right from switching off the lights without having to move, to hassle-free shopping experiences, to issuing automated bill payments, it’s all a matter of convenience and agility. All this data that captures user intent can then be the bedrock on which marketing campaigns can be built on,” the study notes.

“Earlier, brands were hesitant in joining the voice revolution but now, there’s a growing awareness and understanding that voice is not just a viral trend, it is a necessity,” the report states.

For the earbud generation, not only music but also podcasts as a source of audio entertainment would see a rise. A larger audience will consume content across genres in a language they love. It would be interesting for companies to explore telling their brand stories in this new format. MATTER ENDS

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