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Understanding Alexa Skills: How to Add Amazon’s Market-Leading Device Into Your Current and Future Marketing Strategy – Nick Wilsdon’s Benchmark 2018 talk review

Search Product Owner at Vodafone, Nick Wilsdon, talked about understanding Alexa Skills, and adding them to your marketing strategy to get ahead of the competition


With nearly two decades worth of experience from across SEO and the digital markets, Nick was returning for his third Benchmark Search Conference, and who better to talk about the developments in mobile and voice search, and the progression of technology than a man working within the field everyday.

Nick started by explaining how he works right across the Vodafone group and his teams produce market insights for their audience which now stands at over 513 million users. Welcoming the audience Nick said: “I’m so excited about voice and I know there’s been a lot of hype around this. I want to give you a really practical insight on voice search, what we’ve been doing and what we’ve developed in terms of voice skill.”

To help paint a picture of the digital landscape and the ways in which voice search has crept into the market, Nick looked at three key areas. He looked at the main players in the voice market: Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft and looked at their ‘home’ voice devices, their operating platforms and the assistants on their mobile and voice activated platforms. He then reiterated the point that, with smartphone use at an all-time high and coverage so vast, most of the people in the room would have access to a voice operated device in their pocket.



He then told the audience to ‘think beyond’ mobile and voice devices, telling the crowd: “Think about all the devices, all the white goods that you have around your house.  Think about Panasonic think about your fridge think about your cooker all these devices can have this technology built into them, so the idea of just telling me that there is a set speaker and that it is going to change dramatically over the next few years is crazy.  This whole market can be shaken up completely so there’s really everything to play for.

“Bear in mind, however, that there is nearly 70% coverage in the US when it comes to Alexa and this is something that we are seeing here in the UK. That means if you are going to have a voice skill then using the Amazon products and Alexa is a good starting point.”

Nick then asked the question, ‘So what are people doing on voice devices?’ he listed the following, paying particular focus to the last point:

  • Asking questions
  • Setting reminders
  • Syncing calendars
  • Controlling homes
  • Making a purchase
  • Using skills and apps

“This is what I wanted to speak about. Using Alexa skills to talk to apps. When you ask for an update on the weather, Alexa will now direct you to a specific app and answer the query that way. In essence it’s like a search engine; the best answer gets the top spot.

“At the end of last year we had 7000 voice skills and now we have over 30,000.”



Nick’s talk was, as always, one of the highlights from the conference and watching the above video is a must.

His 2018 talk covered:

  • The rise of voice skills
  • Will Amazon maintain market share?
  • The language of Alexa
  • Phrase choices
  • The key to a good voice strategy
  • Aligning your featured snippets with voice
  • Podcasting and audio opportunities
  • And more…

For more of our Benchmark talks from 2014 onwards, you can visit our Benchmark page – or check out our resource section to find more actionable insights for your search marketing.



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