Spotify will be rolling out voice-enabled advertisements

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Spotify seems to be increasing its investment in voice technology. Today it is announcing the launch of voice-enabled advertisements. Users will be encouraged to verbally respond to the ads, which will then redirect them to the content being advertised. As for now, that only includes content that can be found within the Spotify app.

Spotify is testing voice-enabled audio ads for one of its own podcasts and another separate one for Unilever, allowing listeners to take action by saying a specific phrase during commercials. Although rival Pandora is also testing a similar feature, it hasn’t yet done so with any brands.

“Voice commands are becoming second nature to us, just as swiping on a tablet or phone already is today,” says Leslie Walsh, exec director of strategy at agency Episode Four, who was not involved with this project but has been watching the voice space closely. “While the ‘Play now’ voice command is a shiny new feature, as with all new shiny things in tech, brands need to make sure they have something of value to offer to listeners before jumping on it.”

How it works:

Whenever any voice-enabled ad is served, listeners can opt to engage with it by responding, “Play Now.” That voice command activates the playlist or podcast, which also contain additional ads. If the listener doesn’t respond or says something other than the “Play Now” command, the current audio content will resume as usual.

The ads will only be served to a subset of users in the U.S. who have microphone permissions granted in their settings and are streaming from the free, ad-supported version of Spotify. Users can opt out of them all together in the Settings menu under “Voice-Enabled Ads.” There’s also a “Manage Ad Settings” button that appears while the voice ad is playing, so you don’t have to go searching for the setting.

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