That crescendo you hear is a whole lot of sites starting to talk. Just consider:
- 7b voice messages get talked and heard on WhatsApp every day.
- 31% of the media we consume is audio.
- $35b will target listeners to close the audio ad gap.
- Google is quietly turning all text into talk.
Our digital media is getting chatty—at scale. And the “Talking Internet” will change: your media, your marketing, and your life.
557 years ago, print didn’t scale all that well. We hand crafted each page in small batches with quills and ink. Print was scare and few could even read the words. So, everyone spoke…and listened. Talk was the medium of record. Then, Gutenberg made type move and made text scale. We’ve been optimizing print ever since.
Going from text to talk will be media’s biggest metamorphosis. Talk tethered people and can again. Because, when we speak, we naturally connect.
Rico Cipriaso, Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy at PIXACORE explains it like this, “Voice brings the world to your door. The more we use the power of human connection and command in its most simple form, the better we can discuss digital innovation in its most human form.”
So, What’s Changed?
Siri can’t read my contacts the way Olivier could read a phone book. But, “Make a left at the next light,” isn’t about nuance. Soundbites sound just fine. They deliver the information and they’re getting better. Every day, more sites tune more talk engines to satisfy more listeners. The more tech talks, the better tech talk sounds.
The COVID Effect spanned the last three quarters of 2020 and the first half of 2021. It changed media, shopping, and advertising. We lived in our living rooms, ordered from Amazon, binged Netflix, and saw a ton of digital ads. It’s over. We’re back to being in our cars. We’re back to the gym. We’re busy people on the go and off our screens. Audio is ideal for busy people.
Google is testing a metatag called <speakable>. A site can use it to offer alt-text that will be spoken. And heard. Will it happen? Well, when Google asked for secure sites, http became https. When Google said, “Load faster.” We upgraded our servers. When Google told us to be mobile friendly, we responded with responsiveness.
So, the Internet Will Talk, Then What?
Media will change.
More than how media will be consumed, it will be about where talk media will be heard.
A phone is great place to read a two-minute story on Healio. Reading many two-column pages of peer-reviewed goodness on JACC? Grab a comfy chair and a big desktop monitor. The car is about headlines in soundbites. A way to get quick information and big-picture gist.
You don’t write emails like you text. You don’t text like you talk. It will take time to learn how to write copy that talks—especially for pharma. Publishers and societies will get there early. Their content will be heard by news hounds. Did you ever notice how many busy people crave info?
Yes. And, that’s why stations that talk news make 2x more money than stations that play music. Spotify is worth about $15b. And, they’re not the only music steamer. A little back of the envelope math says talk could be a $30b market. That syncs up nicely with a story in Ad Week this summer that explained there’s a $35b Audio Ad Gap.
Marketing will change.
Digital media was about eyeballs seeing impressions. But you can’t see a talk. Banners were made to be clicked. But you can’t click a voice. Your brand is going to need a sting.
What’s a sting? That DAH-NAH-NUH. DAH-NAH-NUH that starts ESPN’s SportsCenter. There, now it’s probably stuck in your head. And, that’s the point. Sonic is sticky. Which is great for branding.
Brands are already jumping into podcasting, digital audio, social audio…really any kinds of audio. Their ads are working…yes, pharma is talking too. The real value of innovating is not just innovating, it’s about getting new data for all those models you built that optimize marketing dollars. Again, 31% of media consumption is audio—just imagine the value of knowing what your customers listen to.
So, where does audio fit in HCP marketing? Charles J. Hecht, Senior Vice President of Connections Planning at Havas told us, “Digestible audio/video solutions are innovative routes we have been exploring to engage HCPs, understanding time is limited (whether in-person or digitally) and NPP saturation is increasing. Quickly communicating valuable content in a rapid, digestible, and easily consumable fashion is the challenge. Audio/video have unlocked this opportunity, but there is still much work to be done before these tactics can be seamlessly integrated into the omnichannel mix.”
Lives will change.
Talk means we don’t have to read the Internet anymore. It will talk to us. And, that will make the Internet a talk-first medium.
Talking to our devices changed our lives. How often do you talk to things? Siri? Your car? The remote control to your TV? Your thermostat? Alexa? What will happen when the entire Internet talks back?
Oddly, short-talk format is still the only radio format that hasn’t been digitized. We go to Spotify to stream music. Podcasts time-shift talk radio. But nothing personalizes our audio info.
“Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world…” What?!?! I don’t have 22 minutes. I have the six minutes Car Play tells me it will take me to get to Starbucks. What info can you give me in my time? That’s relevant to me?
Here, I’ll make it easy. I’m a Knicks fan. I want scores. I’m a cardiologist, I want the headlines from JACC. I love movies, tell me what people thought of that new Wakanda flick.
The key is to make audio as smart as its mature, underlying source. That way, users get a great experience and brands can apply it effectively. It’s going to take an innovative mindset.
So, How Do You Generate “Intelligent Audio”?
Settle in. The next buzzy, trendy word you’re going to hear near the end of 2023 will be, “Generative.” It will go hand-in-hand with “AI.” It’s tech that can create things we (people) value. Smart folks are placing big bets that it will transform all landscapes.
So, I’ll borrow a blueprint from that noted tech expert, Rudyard Kipling…
If you can find the media they want spoken,
And maintain the common touch,
If you can make one stream of all your prose,
And play it for all the people where they go,
If you can fill an available minute
With sixty seconds worth of media spun,
You can speak the Internet and all that’s in it
And—which is more—you’ll be an innovator, and have fun!
Talk has always worked. We’re just about to hear a lot more of it as AI generates talking crescendos.