It’s that time of year again – when our thoughts turn to the holidays, family, and yes, gift-giving.
And as our two companies – Jacobs Media and jācapps – have learned over the past eight years or so, the season also signifies a noticeable bump in the way consumers use the gadgetry they receive as gifts.
It started with smartphones, specifically the iPhone. Every year, we couldn’t help but notice a sharp rise in app downloads throughout much of December – continuing into early January.
Smart radio stations with mobile apps took advantage of the opportunity, ramping up promos drawing attention to their applications. As recipients of bright, shiny new smartphones found out, a station app is great way to break in their new iPhone or Android Galaxy model.
And this holiday season may be like past years – but on electronic steroids. Google’s sleek Pixel 2 is already being heavily marketed, Samsung is hammering away at Apple, while iPhones 8, 8+, and the very high-end X (known as “10”) celebrate a decade of iPhone addiction. If a talking emoji poop is your thing, there could be an expensive iPhone in your future.
If your radio station has its own individual or aggregated apps, making sure to keep your audience aware and alerted of that service is a sure way to generate downloads – and of course, usage.
But then there’s the hottest tech category, predicted to be the “stocking stuffer” go-to item this year. Our recently released flash poll backed that up. One-fifth of online American consumers in our web survey plan to buy one this season. In fact, we learned a majority of current smart speaker owners are planning on purchasing another one for themselves or someone else this month.
Amazon’s Echo line is leading the pack, and chances are good, it’ll be the big winner this holiday season. Last year, Amazon reported its sales of the Echo and smaller Dot devices grew nine times over the previous holiday season. And this year could go even higher, thanks to interest in these gadgets, as well as the millions of members of Amazon Prime who know a good deal when they see one.
You’ve probably noticed that prices have been slashed on both the Amazon and Google smart speakers, fueling more sales. The Dot and Google Home Mini are both priced under $30 making them true “stocking stuffers.”
Alexa has rapidly become the most uttered woman’s name in the world, and you can bet it’ll be oft-mentioned in millions of homes these next few weeks.
If your station has launched its own “Alexa skill,” you’re in business. The same holiday rules about mobile app usage apply to smart speakers. While voice commands are clearly easier than locating and opening an app, there’s still ambient confusion about “invocations” – the precise way in which consumers call up your skill on Echo devices. This is the perfect time to clear up that ambiguity – right when gift recipients are unwrapping their presents. It’s the perfect time to amp up on-air and off-air marketing efforts for smart speakers.
Our research shows an increasingly higher number of consumers who frequently or occasionally use voice commands on their phones, in their cars, and of course, on smart speakers. That trend is only going to exponentially grow throughout homes, apartments, and dorms over the next couple weeks.
So while things inevitably slow down in radio in late December and the logs get lighter, make sure your station focuses time, attention, and promotional firepower on encouraging your audience to engage with you on smartphones and smart speakers.
They’ll be excited about their new toys, you’ll have their attention, and it’s a great chance to prove once again that for radio, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Merry AleXMas℠ and a ‘Appy New Year!
Jacobs Media has service marked AleXMas℠. Sonic Ai develops “skills” for Amazon Echo devices. Info here.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.