Voice Marketing Success Metrics - Alexa Skills ROI

Amazon Alexa is the dominant voice assistant today

Amazon Alexa is the dominant voice assistant today

What metrics should a company or brand look at to determine success in voice marketing? Let’s focus on Alexa first. Beyond the stats available for Alexa Skills (including Flash Briefing) in your Alexa Developer Console, you have ratings (how many reviews, how many stars your skill averages). But what else matters and how do you know your voice marketing efforts are paying off?

First, remember that on an early platform like voice, you won’t see direct ROI as quickly or easily as on more established platforms. That’s fine. You’re not doing voice to increase sales 50% this year. You’re doing voice to get in on the fastest growing consumer technology since the smartphone. You’re here to learn, set your product or service up for longterm success, and avoid falling behind. In two years, everyone else will be playing catch-up.

Why voice analytics are distinctly powerful:

70% of online carts are abandoned. If someone leaves your website without buying anything, you can often only speculate as to what went wrong (or try to learn after the fact, via a survey for example). You can email them coupons to try to lure them back to complete the purchase. And many users are savvy to this automation so the exit the site to simply wait for your “Come back!” coupon email. It’s an ecommerce rat race.

With voice, the customer has literally told you what they’re looking for, even if your voice app (Alexa Skill, Google Action, or Siri) wasn’t able to handle it. You get that human insight. That’s a win.

Voice Success Metrics

1. If success is defined as Alexa skill use/engagement:

The obvious metrics in Amazon Developer include:

  • Customers

  • Plays (for a Flash Briefing)

  • Sessions

  • Lifetime enablements

But go further and calculate stickiness. I.e., of total enablements, how many return to use the skill more than once?

Metrics available in Alexa Developer Console - Analytics for custom Skills

Metrics available in Alexa Developer Console - Analytics for custom Skills

Figure out how many people come back vs enable once, use, and forget. Some skills should have higher retention than others; for example, Tide’s Stain Remover should be invoked a few times a year at least, or however often you stain your clothes. Get Urgently’s frictionless roadside assistance Skill may only be used about once a year or less - it would still be successful though. It depends on the functionality and use case.

2. If success is defined as showing up when people search for your brand name, product, category, or service (SEO):

Figure out the top 3-5 essential phrases your customers might use to search for your brand or type of product with voice. Are you showing up based on those voice queries? Example: “Alexa, show me the best running shoes.” (Note - as of this writing, Alexa on the Echo Show 5 shows men’s Nikes no matter the gender of the person who searches. This is a miss because Amazon has the user and shopper data to show a personalized result. That will come.)

3. If success is defined as increased interaction outside voice (multi-channel):

If you have any sort of CTA inside your skill, whether that is to visit a web page or comment on Twitter with a certain hashtag, track it. Use a specific URL or hashtag that you only share on your Alexa skill or announce in your Flash Briefing. Drive customers to your other channels if it’s valuable for them. If your Skill provides appointment booking or location information (such as for a local business) then track how many users found you this way.

HOT TIP: you can use the voice marketing platform created by our friends at VoiceXP to have Alexa connect customers to your sales person via phone. All trackable.

4. If success is defined in terms of revenue:

Caveat: revenue as a KPI for voice is a simplistic view that doesn’t account for the value of being early to a new platform. We don’t focus on revenue yet. However, voice commerce is expected to be an $80 billion market by 2023 (via Juniper Research). Hold on.

Incremental sales: what revenue have you driven that you can attribute to voice search or voice commerce?


Marketing Tip: how to promote your Alexa Skill or voice experience

When you run surveys in your general marketing practice, whether those are on a sales receipt, a website pop-up / survey form (“How did we do?”), or a thank-you email post-purchase, include a question or two about whether your customers are aware of and have used your Alexa skill.

5. If success is defined as insight that will inform your strategy:

Look at Alexa as a way to learn from your customers - what do they ask? What do they try to accomplish? Use Amazon Developer to begin understanding what users want and like based on utterances. If you gain insight, that is success. Consider:

  • How many utterances users make in a typical session with your Skill?

  • What percentage of user interactions with your Skill result in a successful outcome?

  • Which of your Skills’ capabilities are being used the most and the least? What does that tell you?

  • Cohort analysis: see whether people acquired during a given month (e.g., after you launched a new feature) behave differently than those who joined prior

  • Retail: See where in the sales path customers are having to ask for help (note: transcripts aren’t available for voice assistants like Alexa at this point, but you can still identify friction points by volume of questions and the answers your skill is called on to give).

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